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SCRAPS FROM MT 



SABRETASCHE. 



BEING 



PERSONAL AD VENTURES WHILE IN THE 
14th (KING'S LIGHT) DRAGOONS. 



BY 



GEORGE CARTER STENT, M.R.A.S., 

OF THE CHINESE IMPERIAL MARITIME CUSTOMS SERVICE. 

AUTHOR OF 

" THE JADE CHAPLET," " ENTOMBED ALIYE," A " CHINESE DICTIONARY,'* 

AND " CHINESE AND ENGLISH POCKET DICTIONARY," ETC. 



LONDON : 

W. H. ALLEN & CO., 13 WATEELOO PLACE, 

PALL MALL. S.W* 



1882. 



[All righta reserved.! 

2/0. o . ^^-lOi 



LOHDOH : 
PBIVTSD BT W. H. ALLSV & CO., 13 WATEBLOO PLACS. ■.W. 



5 FEB83 

£xfor5. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 
CHAPTER 



I. — Cantbbbuby . 

n. — Maidstone . 

m. — Chinsubah . 

IV. — The Mabch 

V. — Meebut 

VI.—" Now Say That " 

VII. — Theatbical Reminiscences 

VIEL — Theatbicals in Eaenbst 

IX.— "I Love You" . 

X. — Dummy 

XL — The Mabch to Kibeee . 

XII. — The Bull Pup 

XITL — The Tables Tubned 

XIV. — Scbatch-Cbadle 

XV. — Off to Pebsia. — Singing Gibls 

XVI. — Monkeys . 

XVn.— On Boabd Ship 

XVm. — Incidents at Sea 

XIX.—" JUGGLEB *' . 

XX. — Sunday Mobning 



PA«1 

1 
7 

17 

26 

83 

89 

43 

50 

56 

62 

74 

79 

88 

93 

106 

112 

120 

125 

133 

140 



IV CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

CHAPTER XXI. — AuRUNGABAD. — My First 

Charge 145 

CHAPTER XXII.— Harini 153 

CHAPTER XXin.— Lahore.— Bhopal Contin- 

GENT 172 

CHAPTER XXIV.— The Resurrectionist . .178 
CHAPTER XXV-— Ratghur.— Saugor . . 183 
CHAPTER XXVI.— Maltone ^ . . . .190 
CHAPTER XXVII.— Jhansi.— No Quarter . 197 
CHAPTER XXVIII.— In a Scrape, and out of 

ONE 206 

CHAPTER XXIX.— The Battle of Betwa . 213 
CHAPTER XXX.— The Fall of Jhansi . . 219 
CHAPTER XXXI.— KooNCH.— " Not Dead yet '* 228 
CHAPTER XXXn.— Kalpee and Galowlee.— 

Ravings and Misty Recollec- 
tions 244 

CHAPTER XXXni. — Gwalior. — Roasting 

Alive ...... 254 

CHAPTER XXXIV.— Gwalior Fort . . .262 
CHAPTER XXXV.— Conclusion . . . .271 



SCRAPS 



FROM MY 



SABRETASGHE 



CHAPTER I. 

CANTERBUEY. 

And especially, from every shire's end 

Of Englelond, to Canterbury they wende, 

The holy blisful martyr for to seke, 

That hem hath holpen, when that they were soke. — Chaucer. 

Deab old Cantebbubt ! with its castellated gateway^ 
meet entrance into so ancient a city — its quaint narrow 
streets, pervaded with an air of quietness and repose ; — 
its antiquated, gabled and bow- windowed houses; its 
hostelries, where even Chaucer's pilgrims may have put 
up ; its alms-houses, with ancient-looking men and women 
standing in the doorways, suggestive of those who stood 
there in like manner ages ago ; — its remains of convents, 
monasteries, and castles ; — ^its ramparts and towers, hoary 
with age, but only enhanced in their massive grandeur, 

1 



2 SCRAPS FROM MY SABEETASCHE. 

grand by their antiquity, mutely telling of the fierce fights 
they witnessed, of the strong hands that built them, and 
the stout hearts that defended them a thousand years ago. 
Its " Dane John " with its historic mount, the pride and 
boast of the inhabitants, thrown up in one night, and 
containing in its bosom the bodies of ten thousand Danes 
killed in battle there, forming at once a tomb and monu- 
ment more expressive far than the most elaborate 
structures of stone or marble ; and lastly, its glorious 
cathedral, standing in majestic grandeur in the centre 
of the City, towering above — far over- topping everything 
— a visible embodiment of the overmastering principles 
for the propagation and defence of which it was reared : — 

Fine and strong 
'T has stood for long, 
Jetting up its slender lances 

Far athwart the arched sky. 
On whose tops the sunshine glances, 
While the hirds wing brightly by. 

For, enter the city which way you will from its beautiful 
environs, and its tall spires are beheld standing out against 
the sky, rearing their lofty fanes into the clouds ; from 
every street it seems to look calmly and pityingly down 
on the puny and fretting cares of the passing generations 
who have trodden its time-worn stones. 

Well may the city be called "ancient." Pew places 
can boast of such relics of the mighty past as Canterbury, 
or such historic and legendary associations as are con- 
nected with it, coupled with such names as those of Saint 
Augustine, Chaucer, Edward the Black Prince, Thomas 
a'Becket, and a host of other celebrities. 



CANTEBBDfiY. 3 

But, though the passing stranger, the well-read casual 
visitor, may enter somewhat into these more general con- 
siderations, it is only those whose opening years were 
passed amid these scenes that can enter into living 
communion with the green lanes and varied scenery of 
hill and dale, woods and cornfields, by which it is sur- 
rounded. How often have I rambled through the many 
shady walks, and from Harbledown, St. Thomas's, St. 
Martin's, or one of the many hills that encircle the city, 
have looked dreamily at it as it lay nestled in the heart 
of the valley, with the Stour flowing through its midst. 

What excursions to "Park Alley," "Whitehall," 
" Burnt wood," " Fish-Pool Bottom," or other well-known 
spots, nutting, lilying, or primrosing as the case might 

be ! But to return within the sacred precincts ; for it is 

around these venerable piles that the vivid memories of 
nay boyhood cling with strongest, even feverish, tenacity. 
What awe I used to feel if I had occasion to pass one of 
the old churches at night ! — and what a sigh of relief I 
gave when once out of the influence of their venerated 
and yet dreaded locality! How we boys, too, used to 
gloat over the old tales of the " Haunted House " in the 
Cathedral yard, and, numbers giving confidence, though 
with an involuntary bristling up of the hair at the re- 
membrance of the ghostly legends connected with those 
places, proceed there in a body, and from thence, whoop- 
ing and yelling to keep ourselves mutually in countenance, 
through the cloistures and the "Dark Entry," until 
chased out of the Cathedral precincts by " Old Leather 
Breeches," the lame guardian of that sacred locality. 

1 * 



4 SCRAPS FROM MT SABBETASCHE. 

I can remember, too, how, when growing older, liking 
to go into the Cathedral, and while the service was going 
on in the chancel, staying in the aisle listening with rapt 
attention and delight to the clear melodious voices of the 
boj choristers, almost fancying at times some heavenly 
choir must be flattering overhead, warbling their angelic 
notes, — or, as the organ pealed forth its diapason, wonder- 
ing where such sounds could possibly come from ; — above, 
below, everywhere seeming to be loaded with harmony — 
the whole air impregnated with melody. 

And tho anthem slowly rolls. 
Over the assembled souls, 

With a free 

Full melody. 

Drinking in this delightful music, I would alternately 
gSLze up with admiration to the beautiful stained windows. 

With softened shine 

From every pane 

Whose gorgeous stain 

Lies upon 

The pavement stone, 

Tolling many an awful story 

Of the martyr-days divine ; 
AMiile a dim torch-lighted glory 

Streams from every pictured shrine ; 

or the gold and enamelled groined roof, — the whole of 
which was popularly believed to have been done by a 
woman, though how she could possibly have got up there, 
or being there, could have done such masterly workman- 
ship, I could never conceive, — ^the looking up alone made 
me feel giddy. But my greatest delight was in wander- 
ing from one monument to another, somehow lovingly 



CANTERBCTKY. 5 

lingering near those which commemorated soldiers who 
had fallen in battle. 

Many warriors here about 

Lie, some with crossed hands devout, 



These monuments, with their long lists of officers and 
men, and the tattered colours drooping over them, were 
peculiarly attractive to me. The colours, to me, vividly 
telling their tales of bloody Indian battles, of deadly 
struggles for those very flags — of their handles having 
often felt the death-grip not relaxed even in death. Who 
could tell how many brave men those colours had led on 
to victory or death ? How many eyes had looked on 
them as their guiding star to glory! How many had 
reverenced them as pilgrims would some sacred relic! 
How many had fought, bled, and died to prevent their 
being tarnished ! I used to feel a sort of choking in the 
throat, almost amounting to a sob, a swelling of the 
chest, and a humidity about the eyes when I thought of 
all this, and fancy it was worth fighting and dying for to 
be thus honoured ; that I would gladly brave anything 
could I but have my name inscribed on one of those lists 
of heroes, and I would think to myself " Who knows but 
some day a monument may also be placed here to my 
memory?" I felt all this then. But this rapsody 
about Canterbury and its Cathedral* can hardly be 

* While writing the above, I was dismayed by receiving an account 
of the fire at Canterbury Cathedral ; fortunately it was extinguished 
before any inseparable damage was done. 



6 SCRAPS FROM MY SAIJRETASCHE. 

expected to interest the general reader as it does one who 
loves every stick and stone of the old place — even the 
memory of the brave little fellow belonging to the " King's 
School," who once challenged me out to fight in the 
" Green Court," and who gave me such a severe thrash- 
ing. This love for Canterbury is easily accounted for. 
I was bom there. 



CHAPTER 11. 

MAIDSTONE. 

See those ribbons gaily streaming ; 

I 'm a soldier now, Lisette, 

I 'm a soldier now, Lisettc, 
And of battles I am dreaming, 

And the honours I shall get. 

" If you stick a pint, I '11 give you a respectable crop.** 
This expressive sentence was addressed to me by Private 
Cook, familarly styled Charley Cook, the individual 
appointed to cut the hair of all recruits joining the dep6t 
of H. M.'s 14th (King's) Light Dragoons, for that was the 
title tJien of the regiment I had honoured by my choice. 
Having previously been informed of the difference between 
a "respectable crop" and a "regimental crop," and 
having had ocular demonstration, moreover, by seeing 
living specimens in both styles, I was the better able to 
draw my own conclusions regarding their separate merits, 
and decide without hesitation as to the particular crop I 
should patronise. 

For the information of those who are unenlightened on 



8 SCRAPS PBOM MY SABBBTASOHE. 

these points, I will endeayour to explain them. A '' re- 
spectable crop" represents the hair closely cut at the 
back of the head, but with some portion on each side 
allowed to remain a trifle longer, so as to enable the 
wearer to display any taste he may possess in arranging 
it, by curling (if such a thing were possible), twisting, or 
otherwise disposing of it. A " regimental crop " consists 
in the whole of the hair being literally mowed off the 
bead of the victim to one uniform length of about 
half-an-inch, till it resembles a stubble-field, or a 
scrubbing brush. 

Knowing this, I thought it advisable to propitiate the 
hair-cutter by " sticking a pint," which I did, to his entire 
satisfaction, and my own particular delectation; for I 
should not appear, after undergoing the operation, as if 
I had just returned from a sojourn in the cells. I, there- 
fore, requested him to cut my hair exactly like his own, 
he possessing a luxuriant curly head of hair, that was the 
envy and admiration of every recruit in the depot. I need 
not say that, on drawing comparisons afterwards, I was 
somewhat disappointed. 

I was next introduced to the bath-room, soused into a 
tub of water, and underwent a sanitary process; my 
civilian's clothes were taken away, and I was inducted 
into a " hospital suit," consisting of a sort of blue dress- 
ing-gown and drawers with night-cap to match, — and 
slippers. The whole costume at once unique, and sug- 
gestive of fevers and every description of disease that 
" flesh is heir to." 

Then came the bitterest trial of all. I abominate 



MAIDSTONE. \) 

physic ! From my earliest infancy no power on earth 
could make me take even a pill unless it was care- 
fully imbedded in the nicest of jam, yet I was com- 
pelled to swallow a tumbler of some diabolical nauseous 
mixture — ^necessary to complete my thorough purification, 
I suppose. Aghast as I was at this fresh innovation — 
disgusted at the idea of having to swallow the filthy 
draught — seeing the hospital sergeant, who was a bit of a 
wag, grinning at the grimaces I made, and determined not 
to let him have all the laugh to himself, I gulped it down 
in desperation, smacking my lips as if I had just imbibed 
nectar instead of the atrocious compound, and held out 
my glass as if anxious for more. Fortunately he thought 
I had had sufficient, and I rushed out of the surgery " a 
sadder and a wiser man." 

After having suffered all the horrors of " quarantine " 
in hospital for two or three days till my uniform was 
made, I emerged from my chrysalis state into all the 
glory of a fully-equipped " gay young recruit," and was 
conducted to the barrack-room, where I was installed in 
a berth, and was immediately surrounded by a crowd of 
admiring friends, who were obliging enough to sell me — 
one, a silver- mounted riding- whip — another, a pair of 
spurs with hond-fide " shilling rowels." These being de- 
scribed as absolutely necessary to my respectability as 
a dragoon, I at onc^ purchased, though I discovered 
shortly afterwards that I had paid slightly through the 
nose for them. 

Then followed a series of different kinds of ** setting 
up " drills, such as " goose-step," " extension motion," 



10 SCRAPS PROM MY SABRETASCHB. 

" club-drill," <&c., till I should be considered fit to appear 
in public, that is, allowed to go out of barracks. This 
process generally occupies a month, and in some cases eyen 
two or three ; for your awkward man must be licked into 
shape before he can " parade his figure " in the streets, 
the "back-stick" often being extensively used, though I 
am proud to say I never had one on in my life, being at 
that time as straight as an arrow, and flattering myself I 
was rather a smart young fellow. As a matter of fact, 
few could beat me in feats of strength or agility in any of 
the athletic games got up by the young fellows in the 
garrison. 

I shall not forget the blank look of surprise of a 
sergeant who had charge of a squad of us at " club-drill " 
on one occasion, before I had been at drill three days. 
We were " standing at ease," and he took that opportunity 
of explaining to us the many advantages to be derived 
from this kind of drill, winding up by saying : " There, 
when any of you can do this with the club, I shall dismiss 
you from the squad " (illustrating it by taking both ends 
of the club in his hands and putting it " straight arm " 
over his head behind his back). I at once demurely 
requested him to dismiss me, as I could do it nowy or 
with my joined hands only. However, he did not dismiss 
me then, but reported me favourably to the adjutant, 
and in a day or two I was dismissed and never after had 
any " club driU." 

In the course of two or three weeks, I, with the 
members of the squad to which I had been promoted, 
had made such progress in our various drills that it was 



MAIDSTONE. 11 

considered we might be safely trusted outside without 
danger of getting entangled with our own legs, or 
tripping ourselves or others up with our spurs ; — in fact, 
we were supposed now to " know how to walk." 

We were dismissed with the following injunction : — 
" Now, from this time you will be allowed to go out of 
barracks, and don't let me see any of you go slinking 
along with humps on your backs, but * throw a chest ' * 
and swagger down the street as if you had five pounds 
in your pocket, and didn *t care a damn for anyone — even 
if you hav'n't got a penny to your name." 

He who wears a regimental suit 
Oft is poor as any raw recruit. 

But what of that ? 
Girls will follow when they hear the drum, 
To yiew the tassel and the waving plume 

That deck his hat. 
Oh I he will sing, and, when he 's not on duty, 
Smoke a cigar and flirt with some gay beauty. 

Of course, we did not fe,il to carry out these instructions 
to the best of our power, especially when gallantly " trot- 
ting out " one of the fair " Kentish maids," for whom 
Maidstone is so justly celebrated. I look back to that 
time with pleasure and regret, for I spent many happy 
hours there, and my tastes inclining me to rambling about 
the pleasant neighbourhood rather than frequenting public- 
houses, I passed most of my spare time in that manner, 
generally accompanied by some charming little creature to 
act as guide, who also liked " going out for a walk " ; so 

* Expand your chest. 



12 SCRAPS FROM MY SABEETASOHE. 

that, though I was prettj hard worked in barracks, I was 
not without compensating enjoyments, and these delicious 
walks I indulged in on eyery available opportunity. 

My berth in the barrack-room was next to that of a 
married man, who with his wife and child occupied a 
comer of the room, a very little larger than their own 
bed, and was screened off at night by curtains, and so 
loosely, that while lying on my cot 1 could, if I chose, 
see them within their curtained space. This sort of 
system of married persons living in the same room, though 
much to be deprecated, was a common occurrence then ; 
but I must say the women behaved with the greatest 
propriety, and the men carefully abstained from using 
improper language, treating them in every way with the 
same respect they would their own sisters or mothers, — 
a circumstance which, I think, reflected much credit on 
all parties. 

This couple were a most strangely assorted pair : the 
man being above six feet two inches in height, and withal 
one of the most ferocious looking fellows I ever met 
with. This, however, was in appearance only, for he 
was kind to his wife (who looked like a little wax doll, and 
scarcely reached to his waist), and they lived very happily 
together. 

Through the diplomacy of my mother, who often visited 
me, and who made private arrangements regarding me,"^ 



* The reader will please bear in mind that I did not enlist out of 
poverty, but from a desire to see a little of life in foreign countrieR. I 
could have been " bought out " at any moment, if I wished it. 



MAIDSTONE. 13 

the pair exercised a sort of general supervision over me ; 
in other words, " looked after me," making me as com- 
fortable as possible, at dinuer-time supplying me with 
" tit-bits " from their own table, which I need not say are 
not included in a soldier's rations. I was thus in a 
situation rather to be envied by my comrades, in regard 
to messing arrangements. I considered myself particu- 
larly fortunate, for really the woman behaved to me with 
all the kindness of a mother, and I take this opportunity 
to tender her, late as it is, my best thanks. 

I was also fortunate in successfully passing my examin- 
ation by the school-master in reading, writing, and 
arithmetic. This exempted me from " going to school," 
which is considered a great nuisance by most of the 
scholars, as it materially shortens the little time they 
have for their own amusements. 

In two or three months I was thoroughly master of 
" foot " and " carbine drill," and had made great advance- 
ment in the ** sword exercise." During that period also, 
at intervals, I had occasional " mounts." These ''mounts" 
most of us used to look forward to with pleasure, in spite 
of " chafing," the inevitable consequence of " bumping 
drill " on young beginners. 

There is a great amount of fun, too, watching the 
inexperienced rider, carefully placed in a proper position 
before startmg, and noting when the horses start ofE at 
the last sound of the word t-r-r-o-o-o-t, utterly inde- 
pendent of the riders; how soon they begin to "lose their 
position," till after a few rounds some of them will 
ride their horses " from nose to croup " ; endeavouring to 



14 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABBETASCHB. 

keep their position at first, afterwards frantically trying 
to " stick on," and eventually made " field marshals " of.* 

This is bad enough, and trying to their dignity as 
would-be horsemen, but especially when ** insult is added 
to injury," in the grim irony conveyed by the Bough- 
rider's bawling out : ** Who authorised you to dismount ? 
How dare you dismount your horse without permission P 
Never do so again without first asking leave ! " The 
fortunate individuals who manage to " keep their seats " 
indulge in a suppressed titter, little recking that shortly 
they will probably share a similar fate. 

Luckily, recruits, no matter how often they fall off, 
never seem to hurt themselves ; they invariably select a 
" soft spot " on which to deposit themselves. I remember 
once seeing a horse gallop off furiously with a recruit, 
who received a fall that would inevitably have broken 
the neck of a civilian. The rough-rider, however, was not 
the least alarmed, but coolly remarked, "Oh, he's all 
right ; he knows how to fall ! " And sure enough he 
did ; for to my surprise he got up unhurt, shook himself, 
and mounted again as if nothing had happened. 

At length the time began to draw near when the 
" drafts " from the different depots were annually sent to 
join their respective regiments. All leave is, therefore, 
stopped at this time, under the impression, I believe, that 
many who had leave to visit their homes for a few days, 
might be tempted to overstay their time till the drafts 
had gone, when they would have to wait another year 

* Thrown. 



MAIDSTONE. 15 

before they could be sent. Here I was again fortunate, 
through the diplomacy of my mother, who personally 
applied to the commandant, and succeeded in getting 
three days' leave for me, on the express condition that 
she was to see me safe back at the end of that period. 
The commandant, therefore, ascertaining I bore an excel- 
lent character, sent for me, and spoke in such flattering 
terms of me and to me, that my mother was quite recon- 
ciled to the idea of my being a soldier under the command 
of such a kind-heart.ed officer. I came back from my 
visit punctually at the time appointed. 

The day at last arrived, long wished for by some, and 
long dreaded by others, when the men were to be selected 
who were to join their regiments in India. My regiment 
was at this time on active service, engaged in the Sikh 
war, and many of us were anxious to go out and dis- 
tinguish ourselves — see a little honour and glory in the 
shape of fighting, and be in time to get a medal or — 
something else. 

Before calling out the names, however, the officer in- 
formed us if any man did not wish to go, to say so, and 
another might go in his place. Out of nearly a hundred 
selected from my depot, one only did not wish to go, and 
the pale face of a woman looking through the barrack 
railings with a child in her arms, who would be left behind 
destitute, spoke eloquently as to his reason for not wishing 
to go, and no one ridiculed him as if he were afraid. 
Another man immediately stepped out and offered himself 
as a substitute, so the poor woman had her husband for 
another year. 



16 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCilE. 

That evening orders came out that we were to 

March away to-morrow, 
At the breaking of the day. 

The next morning found us — some two hundred and fifty 
strong, consisting of drafts from the depots of the 9th 
Lancers, 3rd and 14th Light Dragoons — on the high road 
to Chatham, with the band playing "The Girl I left, 
behind me," And other appropriate tunes. I had often 
seen regiments leaving Canterbury, so I was somewhat 
prepared for the scenes I saw on every side. Soldiers 
and civilians, men and women, all huddled together, 
walking along — marching was out of the question. The 
whole " line of march " was one series of leave-taking, 
some of a very sad nature. Mothers, sisters, sweethearts 
and wives bidding a long farewell to sons, brothers, hus- 
bands, or lovers. Poor Poll Brown clinging to the neck 
of her lover, and sobbing out her " Good-bye, Bill ! You 
wonH forget to write to me, darling, will you?" And 
Bill's half-blubbering yet emphatic promise that he would 
not forget — that he would write — as he tore himself from 
her encircling arms, seemed to me quite as pathetic as if 
the leave-taking were more elaborately worded. 

The novelty and bustle for the next few days, perhaps, 
helped to soften the partings of the men ; but how many 
sad hearts went back to Maidstone to brood over their 
sorrows ? How many " Poll Browns " were there who had 
bid " good-bye " to their Bills— for ever ? Who knows ? 



17 



CHAPTER III. 

CHIi^SUIiAH. 

Having passed through the usual incidents, consequent 
upon a long voyage, we safely arrived at Calcutta, and the 
next day were transhipped to a "flat," which conveyed us^ 
to Chinsurah, a place some twenty odd miles above Cal- 
cutta. Here were splendid barracks, into which we were 
duly installed, staring at, and admiring everything, totally 
xmsuspicious of the fate that awaited us. Night came,, 
and with it our enemies, for we had no sooner retired to 
our cots, and were congratulating ourselves on the pros- 
pect of a delightful sleep, after having been cramped up 
in hammocks for so long, when we were startled by a most 
appalling scream, that seemed to proceed from a woman 
almost in the very room we were in. Such a frightful 
sound I had never before heard in my life, it was one 
prolonged shriek of agony, dying away into a faint wail,. 
as if nature could endure no more, and sank exhausted 
under some horrible torture. Every man jumped off his 
cot in a moment, anticipating some dreadful scene, but 

2 



18 SCRAPS yEOM MY SABEETASOflE. 

the sound bad not yet ceased when it was taken up on all 
sides — above, below, everywhere. The air seemed peopled 
with countless invisible forms, who filled it with screams 
in every tone of voice — in every phase of agony ! We 
were horror-struck — the very blood curdled in our veins, 
and if our hair had a tendency to pointing upwards 
through being cut short, that tendency became consider- 
ably intensified. One old soldier, however, soon allayed 
our fears with the naive remark, *' Them *s jackals ! " 

After this and other satisfactory explanations, we again 
turned in and slept peaceably till morning, when we had 
to answer our names at "roll call/' I must say, on 
seeing the men fall in, that I was struck with their 
disreputable appearance. One would fancy instead of 
having been in bed and sleeping comfortably all night, 
the whole of us had been out drinking and fighting. 
Black eyes, lumpy foreheads, swollen cheeks, red puffy 
noses and protruding lips formed the great majority — 
there was scarcely a man that had not some distinguishing 
mark on his frontispiece. The old soldier before alluded 
to was equally happy in his remarks on the subject, and 
disposed of this second visitation as tersely as he had 
done the former, but in a much more expressive manner, 
^'Blarsted skaters" in this instance being the explanation 
we received. 

When we had been a short time in Chinsurah we were 
sent for to " see our accounts,*' and get our " ship's 
clearance," or pay, that had accumulated during the 
voyage; but most of us looked rather blank on finding 
that instead of having anything to receive, a great many 



OHINSURAH. 19 

were on the debit side. This, to our dismay, was soon 
accounted for; after calling over such items as white 
clothing and necessary outfit required before proceeding 
on the line of march, the sergeant-major came to one 
large item of such a sinister nature that it threw a gloom 
over everyone, and many a young fellow's enthusiasm for 
honour and glory got slightly damped for some time to 
come. The last and most unlooked for item in every 
man's account was " One coffin," Rs. 16. 

Now, I contend that to make a person pay for his coffin 
while yet living is not only unfair in a business point of 
view, and shows very sharp practice at the hands of the 
authorities, but it is calculated to have anything but a 
cheering influence on fresh arrivals in India. In fact I 
believe many deaths in India might be traced to this 
source only ; for there are persons so morbidly sensitive in 
their dispositions, that such a circumstance would prey 
upon their minds, and they would rapidly qualify them- 
selves to become tenants of the coffins they had already 
paid for — in other words, they would actually worry them- 
selves to death. Whether I am right or wrong, however, 
in my remarks, I leave it to medical science to discover. 

The unpleasant feelings caused by this singular item, 
in my case, soon wore away, and I passed the whole of 
my leisure time very pleasantly rambling about the neigh- 
bourhood, every day seeing something novel and strange, 
and not the least strange was my first " love adventure " 
as I shall call it. I was walking out one day with a 
comrade named Williams, but who, happening to be a 
Welshman, delighted in the soubriquet of " Taffy," when 

2 * 



20 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABBBTASCHB. 

we met a well-appointed carriage and pair, with a native 
coachman and footmen in livery, and containing two 
young ladies. We had several times met this carriage 
with the same occupants, and in common with the whole 
of the men believed them to be the daughters of a general 
who lived in a bungalow on the banks of the river a short 
distance from the barracks. They were known, therefore, 
and spoken of by the men as the " General's daughters," 
and as such looked up to with all the respect due to the 
beautiful daughters of so exalted a functionary. On the 
carriage passing us, I happened to be on the side nearest 
to it, and what was my surprise and delight when one of 
them with an angelic smile dropped a three-cornered 
hilleUcUmx at my feet! The carriage rolled on with its 
lovely burden, but there lay the note fresh from her 
fairy fingers. I hastily snatched it up, tore it open, and 
eagerly devoured its precious contents. They were as 
follows : — 

Deab Sib, — Be under the third tree of the avenue leading to the 
<jhurch at 9 o'clock this evening, and you -will find one who much 
wishes to see you. 

AMELIA. 

Every word of that note was indelibly imprinted on 
my mind at the first glance, yet I could not for' the life of 
me avoid reading it over and over again. Was it a dream ? 
No. This note redolent with fragrance was proof positive 
that it was real. Had not the delicate tracery of those 
dear words been formed by her own hand ? She loved 
me ! Yes ! She, the daughter of a general, loved me, a 
private soldier ! Boldly overturning all the barriers of 



CHINSUEAH. 21 

rank, fortune, and social position, she had dared to tell 
me so ! For was not the note I held in my hand a con- 
fession of love ? Would she wish to meet me — would she 
-condescend to write to me at all, if she did not love me ? 
1 should see her to-night — ^tell her in the most impassioned 
language, and with all the eloquence at mj command, how 
dearly I loved her, how I appreciated her devotion in 
descending from her lofty sphere and deigning to love one 
so humble as myself. 

Ah, would that my heart had some mode of conveying. 

Its language in eloquent tones to her ear ; 
Or could teach to my lips the power of poiu'traying, 

The love that it feels, true, devoted, sincere. 

I should tell her that, though but a common soldier, I 
would show by my actions that I was made of nobler 
stuff — that I would strive to make myself worthy of her 

— that I " Well, what does it say ? " broke in the voice 

of Taffy, bringing me back from the blissful realms of 
imagination, for I had been standing " mooning " in the 
road till his unwelcome voice recalled me back to myself. 
" What 's it about ? Don't keep it all to yourself ! " ex- 
claimed he. In answer, I read the contents of the note 
over to him, and he was as much surprised as myself, but 
somewhat damaged my aerial structures by hinting that 
perhaps the note was intended for him. What audacity ! 
She love him ! Of course, I resolutely combated such an 
absurd idea, but consented that he should accompany me 
at 9 o'clock to the meeting- place, and I even promised to 
-exert my influence in interesting the sister to bestow her 



22 SCRAPS FROM MT SABRETASCHE. 

regards on him. This I conceived to be sufficiently^ 
magnanimous for any purpose. 

The day seemed interminably long, but the longest day 
generally will come to an end, and so it did in this case. 
Long before 9 o'clock Taffy and myself had posted our- 
selves under No. 3 tree, and were straining our eyes in 
every direction. Could a passenger have seen us he would 
have given us a wide berth, fancying our designs anything 
but amorous or peaceful. Nine o'clock struck. Every 
moment I expected to see her form emerge from the dark- 
ness, but no form appeared. Still I did not despair, some 
trifling thing had delayed her ; the general had detained 
her somewhat longer than usual to sing a favourite song, 
or to play some new piece of music. A thousand things 
might have happened to cause the delay. The " first 
post " sounded half- past nine, still no one came. It was 
time to be gettiDg towards the barracks if we did not wish 
to be reported absent. Taffy began to get fidgetty and 
suggested a hoax. I repudiated hoaxes altogether. "Do 
persons of rank and beauty perpetrate hoaxes ? " " Not 
very likely." " Would she indulge in a vulgar hoax, and 
with me ! " " Impossible." " Perhaps it 's a plot to get 
US murdered," said Taffy. I felt the note in my pocket, 
and smiled contemptuously ; being dark I suppose he did 
not observe it, or probably it had no effect on him, for 
after a pause he whispered, " Well, I shan't stop here any 
longer. I don't half like this billet, so I shall be off." 
I felt almost glad that he was going ; for one does not 
like one's hopes and aspirations to be damped by throwing 
the cold water of doubt and scepticism over them. I was 



CHINSURAH. 23 

determined to stop at any risk, and till no matter what 
hour. This I told him, and requested him to " answer 
for me at watch- setting." He undertook to do so, I, in 
return, promising to let him know all the particulars of 
my adventure when I saw him in the morning. 

Off went Taffy, and I was " left alone in my glory,*' 
buoyed up for some time by the hope that she would yet 
come, but gradually despairing of seeing her, that night 
at least, especially when I heard the " last post " sounded. 
I had never before noticed the peculiar beauty of this 
sound, but standing alone under the tree, with the rippling 
waters of the river running gurgling past me, the notea 
of the trumpets, as they came wafted towards me through 
the night air, sounded so exquisitely soft and mellow, and 
seemed so musically yet plaintively to say, " Come home ! 
come home ! " that, for a moment, I almost wished I had 
gone back with Taffy and was safe in barracks ; but the 
very thought was cowardly and I discarded it as unworthy 
of me ; besides, I still clung to the hope that she would 
yet come. 

The last faint notes of the trumpets had scarcely died 
away in whispering echoes on the opposite bank of the 
liver, when I fancied I heard a movement in the water, as 
if something or someone was stealthily approaching the 
shore where I was. I listened attentively — there was 
evidently something cautiously making its way through 
the water, and towards me too. Presently I perceived a 
dark object crawling up the slimy bank. Was it an 
alligator? It drew nearer. I held my breath, and 
strained my eyes to make out what it was. It rose up 



24 SCKAPS FROM MT SABEETASCHE. 

from its crouching position, and an Indian's voice said^ 
^* Bibi mdngte, sdhib ? " (Do you want the lady, sir ?). 

What a load was taken off my breast, and how relieved 
^ud delighted I felt at hearing those three words in a 
49trange language, of which I understood but one, — but 
that one, to me, embodying the whole of the Hindustani 
language, — BiM (lady). This Indian then was the mes- 
senger who was to lead me to her presence. " Bibi ? 
Yes ! Where is she ? " I exclaimed. The Indian re- 
sponded to my inquiries by pointing out river- wards. I 
concluded by this that he was instructed to take me to 
the back of the bungalow which, as I mentioned before, 
was on the bank of the river ; but I would have gone if 
it had been on the banks of the "bottomless pit" with 
«qual readiness. On inquiring how I was to get there, 
he made signs for me to mount on his back and he would 
carry me. Without hesitation I climbed on his back, 
and he waded slowly out into the dark river, with me 
clinging to him with all the tenacity of Sindbad's " Old 
man of the sea," till he came to a " budgerow " that was 
moored some distance from the bank, but which I had 
not hitherto seen owing to the darkness of the night. 
The Indian at once carefully deposited me on the deck of 
this budgerow. I had scarcely touched the deck when 
my ears were assailed by the savage barking of a dog; — 
some one within seemed to check it, and a soft voice 
cried " Come in, don't be afraid ! " Afraid ! after hearing 
that musical voice ! I entered. There sat the " General's 
daughter," looking more beautiful than ever — more lovely 
even than when she dropped the precious hillet-dotix at 



CHINSUKAH. 25 

my feet; but there too, chained up to the sofa on which 
she was sitting, was a most ferocious hulUdog, glaring at 
me with his bloodshot ejes, barking fearfully, and making 
frantic attempts to break his chain and get at me. I was 
about to move towards her in spite of the fearful proximity 
of the dog, when she cried out to me to take care, and 
turning her fair form to the savage monster, she ex- 
claimed, "Down ye divil, or I'll knock the liver out 
ov ye ! " 

I was horror-struck for the moment. That one sentence, 
delivered in such a palpable brogue, descended with 
sledge-hammer force on my aerial-built castles, and de- 
moHshed them in a twinkling, or as she would have 
expressed it " knocked 'em all to smithereens." To cut 
the matter short, I soon discovered bv her conversation 
that she was not the General's daughter. The ladies had 
mistaken Taffy and myself for two young officers, the 
white uniform of privates in the cavalry being almost the 
same as that of the officers. We, in turn, had mistaken 
them for hond-fide ladies, so that the mistake was mutual* 
However, I left the good lady of the budgerow labouring 
under the pleasant hallucination that I was a cavalry 
officer, and a probable pigeon to be plucked at her leisure ; 
but I need not say I did not enlighten her as to my 
romantic ideas concerning her, when I imagined her to 
-be the "General's daughter." 



26 



SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHB. 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE MARCH. 



Our marcli up country was quite a pleasure-trip, and 
positively enjoyable. It was a real march, too, for 
most of us had the prospect of footing it — railways not 
being yet in existence in India — to distances varying 
from 1,000 to nearly 2,000 miles before we reached our 
respective destinations. 

We mustered altogether — cavalry and infantry — some- 
where about 1,400 men, and merrily we used to trudge 
over the road, lightly equipped, for we carried no arms or 
appointments ; light in pocket, for care had been taken 
that we should not have a superfluity of cash ; and light- 
hearted, for we were young and hopeful. The monotony 
of the march was occasionally relieved by a tune on the 
drums or fifes, or, oftener, by someone singing a song with 
a good chorus, in which all joined, doubtlessly scaring 
many a wild denizen of the jungle, who probably wondered 
— if they could wonder — the cause of such, to them, 
unearthly yelling. When about half way on a day's 



THE MAEOH. 27 

march, we found coffee and biscuits waiting for us by the 
roadside. A cup of coffee and a biscuit, and off we 
trudged again till we came to the camp, pitched the tents, 
and afterwards rambled about the country, or slept, as we 
felt disposed. The chief pleasure in marching, to me, 
consisted in the perpetual change of scenery, the whole 
line of march forming, as it were, a vast panoramic view, of 
which each day developed some new phase or beauty, and 
the details of which I traced out, as well as I could, in my 
own private rambles. At one time in the heart of a vast 
jungle, at another amid corn-fields, now under a beautiful 
tope of mango-trees, on the banks of a broad river, by 
the side of some mountain, on the open plain; changes 
.every day ; towns, villages, mosques, temples, and bridges 
in endless variety, to say nothing of the meeting with all 
fiorts of strange faces and stranger costumes, queer 
equipages with queerer occupants. Here I must record 
the truthfulness and fidelity of description of a favourite 
book. I recognised and could point out every one of the 
characters in the "Arabian Nights' Entertainments," 
dervishes, calenders, every one, from the Caliph Haroun Al 
Baschid down to the barber ; and I could take my solemn 
oath I have met the old dervish leading off the string of 
camels loaded with treasure after the covetous man had 
blinded himself by applying the ointment to both his eyes. 
I have felt positive in my own mind, too, that I have 
passed the very ravine leading to the Peri Banao's 
palace. 

On one occasion an attack was made by a party of us 
on a native village, the inhabitants of which having beaten 



28 SCRAPS FROM MY 8ABEETASCHB. 

-one of the men, a number of us sallied out witli tent-pegs, 
mallet-handles, &c,, and gallantly stormed the mud walls, 
utterly routing the natives, but almost immediately after 
ignominiouslj retreating ourselves at the approach of the 
guard who had turned out in force to stay hostilities if 
possible, or seize delinquents. Some few stragglers were 
taken, and eventually got punished for the whole. On 
another occasion the column, while on the march one 
morning before daylight, was suddenly startled by the 
cry " A tiger ! a tiger ! " There was instantly a commo- 
tion in the ranks, and through the darkness the creature 
came bounding along, scattering everyone right and left, 
into the jungle, some even climbing trees in their desire 
to escape the fangs and claws of the much-dreaded 
monster. This tiger turned out, after all, to be a young 
bullock, which had been tied behind one of the hackeries, 
but evincing a misanthropical disposition, and displaying 
a tendency to use both hoof and horn on the passer-by, 
he had been goaded with the stick of each man who passed, 
till, almost maddened, it finally broke loose, plunged 
through the column, getting the credit of being a tiger, 
and had it all his own way till recaptured. 

Tigers at some places on the road, however, were pretty 
plentiful ; at one halting- ground a bheestie was carried 
off bodily by one of them in broad daylight, and within a 
few hundred yards of the camp. At places, too, in the 
jungle the men on guard were supplied with firewood, 
and their principal duty consisted in keeping up large 
fires all round the camp to prevent tigers or other wild 
animals from entering. I remember on one occasion 



THE MAECfl. 29* 

being on niglit-dutj, and I must confess to a feeling of 
nervousness when left alone at my post about midnight. 
Total silence in camp, everyone buried in profound sleep, 
sentries, in the strong glare of the watch-fires, flitting 
backwards and forwards, or tending the fires like fire- 
flends ; beyond, out in the jungle, intensely black, and 
rendered, if possible, still more so by the near light of the 
fires. I took good care to keep a good blazing fire, also to 
remain on the side nearest the tents, with my ear stretched 
to catch the faintest sound from without. The crackling 
of a twig, a falling leaf, would make me start and hold my 
breath, fancying swarms of tigers were about, awaiting 
only an opportunity when the fire should get lower to 
pounce on me and carry me off. This sort of thing was 
occasionally varied by a distant roar or a growl, seemingly 
so near that the very blood curdled in my viens ; but the 
most abominable sound of all was the laugh of the hyena. 
This I heard several times, and I don't feel the slightest 
inclination to hear it again ; for anything more diabolical, 
Satanic, sardonic — I am at a loss for expletives — it would 
be impossible to imagine. It appears as if a fiend were 
busily engaged torturing some unfortunate victim, and 
now and then leaving off to indulge in a mocking laugh 
at his sufferings, the laugh terminating in a sort of 
ironical snigger. It is beyond the power of my pen to 
convey anything but the faintest idea of that imeai'thly 
laugh. I was very glad when the time came to be 
relieved and I could curl myself up on the ground in the 
guard-tent and dream of Mem instead. 
-Some of our mahouts^ while going through the jungle^.. 



30 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABRETASCHE. 

managed to catch a sbe-elephant and her young one. 
The young one, about three feet in height, naturally 
followed its dam, and was the source of much amusement. 
I saw it one morning as we were sitting down to break- 
fast on the ground in the open air — our tents not yet 
having come up — slowly steal up behind the brief-speaking 
old soldier, deliberately butt him over, snatch up his loaf, 
and, with trunk erect, trot off with it, actually roaring 
with laughter — if an elephant can laugh — at the feat, 
eliciting from the surprised veteran the unusually long 
sentence, " Well, I 'm blarmed ! that young swine has 
bolted off with my roti.'^ 

I had often heard and read of the intelligence of the 
elephant, but I had not the remotest idea of the estima- 
tion in which they are held in India, or the amount of 
intelligence they display, and was not at all prepared for 
what I now heard and saw. On one occasion I saw an 
elephant tried by a court-martial for killing his keeper. 
The whole of the keepers and elephants were assembled 
beneath a large tree, the prisoner, with his fore legs 
chained, was placed in the midst. The keepers, after 
discussing the particulars of the case, and unanimously 
agreeing in the verdict, uttered his sentence aloud to 
the surrounding elephants, who seemed to acquiesce in its 
justice. The sentence was : " That he should receive fifty 
lashes, have his grog stopped for a month, and wear a 
distinguishing badge, in the shape of a chain, for the like 
period." He was at once chained up to the tree, and a 
veteran elephant advanced to the front and administered 
the fifty lashes with a chain, to the evident disgust of the 



THE MARCH, 31 

<3ulprit and the edification of the surrounding elephants, 
who were solemnly looking on. The old fellow whirled 
both chain and trunk round in a manner that showed he 
was an adept in the science of flogging, and the victim, 
beyond wincing and grunting, bearing the punishment 
like a — a — an elephant. The worst part of it, however, 
was yet to come — the stoppage of his grog — for, strange 
as it may seem, I learnt that at that time each elephant 
had his daily allowance of grog, much in the same manner 
as the men, but with the quantity in proportion to their 
size. He would consequently daily feel the deprivation of 
his favourite beverage for a month. I often saw him 
during the period swinging gracefully along, trailing a 
stout chain to his'fore-legs. 

Elephants have a keen sense of the ridiculous ; they 
do not like to be made the subject of a joke themselves, 
but they enjoy one at another's expense immensely. I 
afterwards had daily opportunities of observing this, as 
an elephant belonged to my tent. Each elephant, in addi- 
tion to other forage, has a daily allowance of meat, which 
is manufactured into cakes for him by the keeper under 
his own immediate superintendence, and he will take 
<;are that he is not mulcted of any of his allowance, 
weighing every cake that is made in his trunk. I have 
4seen my particular elephant watch his opportunity, and 
when the keeper has been looking in another direction, 
4stealthily abstract a cake and place it with his trunk on 
the top of his head, where, of course, it would be out of 
sight ; and it was really a treat to watch the air of gravity 
he assumed, and the merry twinkle of his comical little 



32 SCRAPS FROM MT SABBETASCHE. 

eyes when he saw the consternation of the keeper at 
missing a cake. This same elephant nursed the keeper's 
child while the mother was occupied cooking, <&c., and no 
nurse in the world could display more solicitude, or nurse 
a babe more tenderly than he used to, rocking it to sleep 
as gently and securely in his trunk as if it were in a 
cradle. 

At length we arrived in Meerut — which the milestone 
told us was 999 miles from Calcutta — a place so often 
described in the various accounts of the Mutiny that a 
description from my pen would be superfluous. Here 
the depot of the 14th Dragoons was ordered to remain,, 
and the remainder of the depots started off again the next 
morning for stations further up the country. In a few 
days we were gratified by seeing the regiment march in,, 
embrowned by exposure and hard service in the field, 
having just come from the Sikh war ; and proud we were 
of belonging to such a fine body of men, and anxious 
for the time when we could turn out in all the panoply 
of war like them. We were at once marched out on the 
parade-ground, inspected by the colonel, lots were drawn 
for us by the captains of troops, and our depot, as a 
depot, was no more ; we were distributed to the different 
troops, my destination being the H Troop of H.M.*s> 
14th Light Dragoons. 



33 



CHAPTER V. 



MBEBUT. 



** Now, then, which are you going to keep ? " The taciturn; 
old soldier had just retured from a sharp field day, hungry 
as a hunter after his morning's ride, when on entering his 
quarters and expecting to find a breakfast already laid 
for his particular behoof, he found his wife be-night- 
capped and snugly ensconced on the bed with two little 
mites of babies as snugly nestling in her bosom. He was 
certainly more surprised than delighted when he was 
congratulated by the matrons present as the happy father 
of these two precious darlings. " Such ducks too! " ejacu- 
lated one of them — "the innercent little lambs, quite a 
pidgin g pair, ain't they ?" triumphantly turning down a 
bit of the counterpane to exhibit them. The father, 
perhaps, could not perceive the beauty either of the 
metaphor or of " the innercent little lambs," but thought 
they looked remarkably red. Nor could he see the affinity 
between a pair of squalling bantlings and such tender 
comestibles as ducks, lambs, or " pidgings," beyond the 

3 



34 SCRAPS FROM MT SABRETASOHB. 

tenderness part. Worlds would not liave induced him to 
touch one of thetn "for fear of breaking 'em," as he 
afterwards remarked. Looking at the officious but kind- 
hearted women more in sorrow than in anger — without a 
word — but with sadness depicted on his manly brow, he 
strode forth. 

Five — nay, two minutes had hardly elapsed when he 
returned bending beneath the weight of a heavy burden, 
and gave vent to the expression that ornaments the head 
of this chapter. "Now, then, which are you going to 
keep?" repeated he, placing his burden on the ground, 
and looking round complacently on the assembled com- 
pany, as if conscious that he was making so liberal an 
ofEer that it could not fail to be appreciated. 

" Why, good gracious ! " exclaimed one of the women, 
** what has he brought that here for ? " That alluded to 
by the woman was the burden he had just deposited on 
the ground, a huchet of cold water. What does the man 
mean ? Does he think he 's a going to drownd these 'ere 
precious babes as if they wos puppy-dogs, or wot ? " 

" Look'ee here," exclaimed the taciturn old soldier, and, 
meeting the exigencies of the case, he for once threw off 
his taciturnity and became quite eloquent and grand in 
his eloquence, " Look'ee here, I aint 't a going, you know, 
to have two babbies a-knocking about the place. I never 
bargained for two, and I'm damned if I'm a-going to 
have two. I don't mind breedin' one on 'em, but when 
it comes to two — ^why — ^I — I ain't agreeable, so that 's all 
about it. However, you shan't say I 'm acting shabby^ 
for you shall have your pick — whichever one you like. 



MEEBUT. 35 

Now, then, make your choice, cos the other " ^A signi- 
ficant glance at the bucket was more expressive than 
mere words, and rounded the sentence off admirably. 
"As I said afore, which are you a-going to keep?" 
He was interrupted in a fresh burst of eloquence by a 
regular feu-de-joie of abuse from the assembled matrons . 
We often hear of a volley of abuse, but a feu-de-joie is 
infinitely more effective ; a volley is over, or supposed 
to be over, at one grand discharge, but a feu-de-joie 
is a running fire — ^if one shot misses, another is sure to 
tell. 

" You unnateral monster ! do you think your own flesh 
and blood is pups, or wot ? " said one. 

" If I had my will," said another, " it 's you that should 
be drownded in that there bucket instead of them blessed 
babes " — which, considering his size, would have been 
rather a difficult undertaking. 

In the midst of this desultory firing, the old soldier 
was glad to beat a hasty retreat ; while the mother, who 
knew him better than any of them, exclaimed : 

" Lor' bless you, you mustn 't mind him — that 's onny 
his way, he wUl have his joke. He drownd either of these 
little darlings ! Not much ! I '11 bet anything now, if 
you could onny ^ee him, that he 's laffing fit to crack his 
sides — onny he don't show it — he keeps his laffs inside 
on him; but for all his looking so serous — if you knowed 
him as well as I do, you would say he 's the funniest 
man you ever met, and the kindest too — ^why he wouldn't 
hurt a worm, would he, my precious ones ? " Here she 
addressed her conversation particularly to the new comers, 

3 • 



86 SCRAPS FROM MY 8ABRBTASCHE. 

— much to their edification — in the way that mothers do 
talk to their babies. 

These few remarks, however, somewhat mollified the 
matrons, and they began to entertain different views as 
to his intentions towards the children ; but they did not 
fail to mention the incident to their various friends, and 
the old soldier was often greeted in a jocular way by his 
comrades, with the now standard joker popular inqiiiry, 
" Well, which are you going to keep ? " 

In the meantime I was progressing very rapidly with 
• my drills, both foot and mounted, and in due time I was 
dismissed recruit drill, and, being considered a smart 
soldier, was at once put into the first class and " told off *' 
as a regular skirmisher, which, unless a man has a first- 
rate horse, steady under fire, and that will obey the 
slightest move of hand or leg, is not by any means an 
enviable position, a spirited or vicious horse often getting 
his rider extra drill. However, I can boast that in a 
period of twelve years I never did one days' extra drill, 
either for my horse or myself, which is saying a great deal 
for both parties. 

I was at that time very fond of dancing, so I at once 
became a member of several of the dances held in the 
regiment, and, being an adept in " the poetry of motion," 
was shortly after elected to the responsible office of M.C. 
of the weekly dance held in my own troop. These dances 
were comparatively costless, there being nothing but tea, 
coffee, or lemonade allowed. Being almost the only 
amusement the women of the regiment could indulge in, 
they were looked forward to as a positive treat. These 



MEBBUT. 37 

dances, too, had a sort of ciyilising influence on the men, 
occasional contact with the softer sex at these social 
gatherings having a softening effect on their rougher 
natures, and reminding them that, though far from home, 
they were not altogether without the pale of civilisation. 
They were, besides, conducted as respectably as the most 
fashionable balls at home could be, and were, no doubt^ 
quite as much enjoyed. I look back to them with 
pleasure. 

Sometimes, too, they had their absurd side ; for in- 
stance, one evening an old woman belonging to the 
regiment, who had probably never before danced in her 
life, was persuaded by a mischievous fellow to stand up 
with him in the "Lancers," the individual in question 
assuring her it was the simplest thing in the world, and 
that she had only to watch his movements and imitate 
them. 

Thus assured, the old lady confidently stood tip with 
him, they taking one of the sides. The music struck 
up, and, instructed by her partner, she went through the 
initiatory bowing to perfection ; immediately the gentle- 
man, with a face as grave as a judge, commenced a 
" cellar-flap," working both arms and legs in the most 
approved fashion, occasionally smiling benignantly on 
those opposite, whom politeness only kept from roaring 
with laughter ; the old lady, with an agility worthy of a 
better cause, did the same, making frantic attempts at a 
" double-shuffle " to bear him company, also smiling com- 
placently as she saw him do. Fortunately it came to 
their turn in reality to dance, and the old lady was led 



38 SCBAPS FBOM MT SABBETABCHE. 

trinmphantlj through the figure ; she had preyiouslj 
been hoaxed, utterly unconscious of the hoax that had 
been practised on her, and imagining she had made her 
debut in dancing with great eclat. 



39 



CHAPTER VI. 



"now sat that." 



tt 



Now say that." 

The person appealed to did say that, whatever it was, 
and instantly a simultaneous roar of laughter burst from 
seyen hundred throats. 

"Ho! ho! ho! ha! ha! ha! hi! hi! hi!" 

The parties alluded to in the foregoing were — a cor- 
poral of the 1st Fusiliers ; Corporal O'Niel of the 14th 
Dragoons, commonly called Pat O'Niel, unless on duty> 
when he exacted the title due to his rank; and the 
laughers. 

The laughers were horses. 

The laughter was continued in every tone of voice, from 
the deep bass guffawy horse-laugh to the treble whinny- 
ing giggle. The owners of the seven hundred throats, 
independent of their derisive laughter, exhibited their 
merriment in a variety of fantastic ways, such as snort- 
ing, pawing, biting, kicking, bucking, jumping, plunging, 
rearing, &g., and were only restrained in their merriment 



40 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABEETASCHB. 

by the strong head and heel ropes that kept them within 
due bounds. 

"Ha! ha! ha! ho! ho! ho! hi! hi! hi!" 

" Glory be to God, but that bangs Banaghar ! " ejacu- 
lated the speaker of that. 

" Well, do you give in that you 've lost ? " inquired 
the other. 

" Is it lost ye mane ? Throth, thin, it 's meself that 's 
lost intirely ! " They returned to the barrack room. 

What was the cause of this uproarious merriment 
amongst the horses, and what was the that that caused it ? 
I will tell you. 

Corporal Flynn had that morning strolled down to our 
lines on a friendly visit to Pat O'Niel, and even at that 
early hour they had imbibed a few " drops of the cratur." 
Now Pat was a harem- scarem devil-may-care sort of a fel- 
low, a perfect gentleman in manner when he chose to be so, 
when he could spit out the brogue with the wildest Irish- 
man breathing ; he was withal brimful of wit and humour, 
and was perpetually up to some " divilment " or other. 
During the visit, the pair of them had been busily en- 
gaged discussing the various merits of infantry and 
cavalry — the one stoutly maintaining the infantry was 
the best service, the other as enthusiastically upholding 
the cavalry. After a long argument on the subject 
Corporal Flynn exclaimed : 

" Throth, thin, ye may prate about yer horse, an yer 
sword, an yer spikes, but I '11 stick to Brown Bess ; an' 
I say that the infantry is betther than the cavalry." 

" Hould yer whist ! " exclaimed Pat, " don't be blather- 



66 



NOW SAY THAT." 41 



ing tliat way ! Why, man, if you was to repate thim 
words out in the lines, every mother's son of the horses 
would laugh at yer ; an' I 'm game to bet ye a bottle 
on the strength of it." 

The bet was arranged, and the two proceeded to the 
horse-lines accompanied by others to witness the cere- 
mony. Pat had artfully managed it so that they left the 
room just as the clock was on the point of twelve, know- 
ing the horses were fed at that time, and at the first blast 
of the trumpet for "feed** would neigh and fret with 
impatience till they got their com. He saw the trumpeter 
in the distance raise the trumpet to his mouth to sound, 
he confidently invited the corporal to say that, and the 
latter at once repeated the asseveration "I say that the 
infantry is betther than the cavalry," with the result as 
described above. 

I cannot resist here giving another specimen of Pat's 
wit and his pardonable vanity, or rather the esprit du 
corps displayed by him. One day some athletic sports 
were going on at the back of the lines, and Pat, who was 
an athlete, had managed to carry off two or three prizes, 
and was consequently elated at his success. His part 
in the programme being over, he had donned his uniform, 
and was sauntering homeward, when he encountered an 
infantry officer in mufti, whom, of course, he passed with- 
out saluting. The officer, piqued at this, called him back, 
and asked why he did not salute him. Pat replied by 
his not being in uniform he thought he was not an officer, 
and politely inquired his name and rank that he might 
.know him in future. The officer innocently gave both, 



42 SCRAPS FROM MY SABEETASOHE. 

he tumiog out to be a lieutenant. Pat immediately ex- 
claimed, ''It appears, then, that you ought to have saluted 
me instead of my saluting you. Do you know that I 'm 
your superior officer ? especially as I am in regimentals, 
which makes it all the more inexcusable in you." The 
officer began to fancy he had rather a strange character 
to deal with ; but wishing to know a .little more about 
Pat, and being himself a bit of a wag, he said he should 
like to be enlightened as to how a corporal could be 
superior in rank to a lieutenant. " Well, then, I '11 tell 
you," said Pat. " A private dragoon ranks with a field 
officer in the infantry, because none under that rank are 
allowed to wear spurs or ride a horse on parade, and a 
private dragoon does both. Now I 'm a corporal of 
dragoons, consequently your superior officer." The officer 
instead of being foolishly angry, was extremely amused 
at Pat's ingenious reasoning, and showed it by sending 
him a case of brandy that evening, which Pat duly shared 
among his admiring comrades, at the same time gleefully 
recounting the adventure which led to such a liberal 
gift. 



43 



OHAPTBE VII. 

THBATEICAL EEMINISCENCES. 

TLlyisq always had a taste for theatricals, I made appli- 
cation to become a member of the " Dramatic Corps " 
belonging to the regiment, and was placed at once on the 
probationary list till the body of amateurs could decide 
on my capabilities. I made my debut — a double-breasted 
one, as a friend facetiously observed — shortly after- 
wards on the stage of the Station Theatre, playing the 
character of Seaweed in "Black-eyed Susan," and singing 
a comic nigger melody between the pieces, accompanying 
myself on the bones. I think I may venture to say I was 
the first European that introduced that delectable style 
of singing and music on the boards in India. I repeat it 
emphatically — music. For that there is music in the bones 
I had ample proof ; that is, if there is any truth in the 
well-known lines — 

'* Mnsic hath charms to soothe the savage breast," &c, 

for I nightly soothed the savage breast of a cohra-di- 
eofpello, and it isn't often a singer has a cohra-di-cayelh 



44 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASCHE. 

for an audience. It occurred in this wise. Being engaged 
to sing the above-mentioned nigger melody, with bone 
accomp^^niment, a certain amount of practice was required, 
and I am free to admit that however melodious that sort 
• of music might be at times, one does not care to have 
it constantly ringing in his ears ; so to avoid annoying 
anyone, I used to walk out of an evening on the 
plain, about a mile away from the lines, sit down on the 
brink of a ruined well, and rattle away to my heart's con- 
tent, grimacing meanwhile like a maniac. It was a bright 
moonlight night the first time I went, and I was sitting 
on the edge of the well, bringing out a particular roll I 
required, when I saw a few yards in front of me what I 
took to be a long pole. I paid no attention to this, but 
continued my practice. Shortly after, happening to look 
in that direction again, I fancied it appeared a good deal 
nearer. "Devilish strange," thought I. While staring 
intently at tliis phenomenon-stUl going on with the 
bones — ^I became conscious of an almost imperceptible 
movement on the part of the pole towards me, but so 
slowly as scarcely to be observed. However, I still con- 
tinued playing — at the same time watching carefully this 
object, when I felt convinced it was a snake — and by this 
time I had been long enough in the country to know how 
to distinguish a common " carpet-snake," which is harm- 
less, from a " cobra," whose bite is fatal. I, therefore, 
detached a piece of brick from the edge of the well, and 
tossed it towards the pole, when, with a succession of 
hisses, it raised itself erect in a moment, and darted at me, 
thus proving it to be a " cobra," for a " carpet-snake " on 



THEATRICAL EEMINISCENCES. 45 

being thrown at would have been as ready to retire 
as the cobra was to attack. I need not say that I 
practised no more that night ; but the next night, after 
carefully looking round to see that he was not near the 
edge of the well, I took up the same position as I had the 
previous night, and commenced practice, with precisely 
the same result — the snake appearing as before, and 
gradually drawing nearer till within about four yard» 
distance, when he remained stationary and apparently 
highly delighted with my performance, as he never made 
any attempt to meddle with me, nor I with him ; and for 
nearly a fortnight I had him nightly for my audience, 
and although I must admit he never enthusiastically 
encored or applauded me, yet after the first night he as 
invariably refrained from hissing me. 

Snake-charming has been so often written about, that 
I can scarcely relate anything concerning it that is new to 
the reader. Of course, like all Europeans in India, I have 
seen them dance to the music of the snake-charmer's 
peculiar pipe, and have also seen the keeper of them 
allow himself to be bitten by the poisonous reptiles without 
apparent injury. We, however, had such a hatred of them 
that we used often to buy one for the express purpose of 
"hunting it," or rather worrying it, till it became mad- 
dened with rage, and, when tired of this strange pastime, . 
killing it. 

On one of these occasions a man of my troop had like 
to have lost his life. We had procured an immense 
*' cobra," and turned him loose on the plain ; the reptile 
on finding himself free began quietly to glide off, but inr 



46 SCBAPS FROM MY- SABRETASCHE. 

whatever direction he went he found himself obstructed^ 
each of us being armed with a long stick for that purpose, 
a thrust of which would excite him, and cause him to 
make a dart at the offender, which, had he succeeded, 
would have cost the man his life. Sometimes he would 
single out one individual, and madly chase him, regardless 
of the thwacks from the sticks of his tormentors. This 
snake at length shared the fate of its predecessors by 
being beaten to death. One of the men took it up by 
the tail and swung it round his head in triumph; 
by some means a drop of foam from the mouth of the 
reptile fell upon the man's hand, in a short time it 
swelled up to an enormous size. He was immediately 
taken to hospital, and for a long time his life was 
despaired of ; in fact, he was ill for six months through 
the effect of that one drop of foam. I mention this 
incident as showing how deadly their bite must be, if a 
drop of the poison on the outside of one's skin produces 
such an effect. 

Every animal seems to have an instinctive horror of 
this much-dreaded reptile, except the mungoose. This 
daring little animal is the only living thing that will 
venture to face it. He seems to delight in nothing better 
than a set-to with this formidable antagonist, in which he 
invariably comes off victorious. I have seen several fights 
between the mungoose and the cobra, and although the 
cobra is perhaps ten times the size of the little fellow, 
and could swallow him whole, yet such is his agility that 
he always manages to elude his adversary. The bite of 
the cobra does not appear to affect him either — or rather 



THBATEICAL BEMINISOENOKS. 47 

there is always an antidote at hand — for when bitten by 
the cobra the mungoose will run away for a few yards, 
busily scratch up the ground as if in search of something, 
and having apparently found what he required, will return 
again to the conflict, nor desist till he has rendered his 
foe hors-de-comhat. What the antidote is — if antidote it 
be — and there seems no reason to doubt that it is a 
most potent one, I believe no one has ever been able to 
discover. 

I remember, when I first came into the country, being 
tsomewhat scared at the reply of the taciturn old soldier 
to some question as to what was most necessary for the 
road. His answer to my inquiry was, " A hammer." By 
dint of questioning I managed to elicit from him that 
a " hammer was required the first thing every morning 
on the road to tap any snakes on the head that might 
be found under one, and that every recruit ought to have 
one." I did not fail, after that, to closely scrutinise the 
ground in and about the tent to look out for snake- 
holes. 

Once, while on sentry in the verandah of the main- 
guard, a small green snake — ^well known as being the 
most deadly kind — either dropped accidentally or jumped 
purposely from the thatched roof on to my shoulder, 
startling me considerably. Luckily he fell from thence to 
the ground, with no other damage to me than the fright. 
Once on the ground the butt of my carbine became 
intimately acquainted with his head, effectually putting a 
stop to any design he might have entertained towards 
me. 



48 SCRAPS FBOM MY SABEETASCHE. 

The most curious kind of snake I ever saw is the 
" double-headed " snake. This is from two to three feet 
long, nearly the thickness of one's wrist, and not much 
unlike a bludgeon. On closely inspecting it, it will be 
found to have one end acting for the time being as head, 
" properly fitted up " with all the requirements for eating, 
&c. ; but the other end, acting as tail, and a facsimile of 
the head, appears to be hermetically sealed. The natives 
say it uses either end as head and tail alternately, 
changing every six months. Thus, at the end of six 
months the closed-up end, that has answered the purpose 
of tail for that period, opens and becomes the head, 
while the head in turn closes up and becomes the tail,. 
and so on. I confess this is a subject rather beyond my 
comprehension, and I cannot call to mind ever reading 
any scientific explanation of this singular phenomenon. 
The snake, however, is very common and easily procur- 
able. I feel sure any naturalist would merit the thanks, 
of the scientific world at least, if he could, either by 
keeping one and daily watching it, or by some other 
process, arrive at some satisfactory reason for this curious 
freak of nature. Perhaps — nay, let me trust that my 
few remarks on the subject may induce some one to 
endeavour to elucidate the mystery connected with the 
" double-headed snake." 

Well, I declare! if I have not imperceptibly glided, like 
my quondam friend the cobra, from theatricals into the 
history of snakes, or something very closely approaching 
it. Yet there may be some slight affinity between the 
two, for I hav^ «een one or two of our best players who- 



THEATRICAL BEMINISOENOES. 49 

have died " seeing snakes/' and brought to it by drink, — 
a slo-wer poison sometimes, but in India often as rapid as 
the bite of the deadly cobra. 

To return to my original subject: I gave such satis- 
faction at my debut in theatricals, that I was promoted to 
the third class at the next meeting of amateurs, and the 
conclusion of two more plays saw me ranked as a first- 
class player, and I ultimately became stage-manager, 
which position I filled till I left the regiment; but of 
this more hereafter. 



60 SCRAPS FROM MY SABEETASCUB. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THEATRICALS IN EARNEST. 

I WAS soon discovered to be so versatile in my proclivi- 
ties that I was cast for any important character — man, 
woman, old, young, dramatic or comic, were given to me 
indiscriminately. The reader may form some idea of the 
variety when I state that in " Green Bushes " I have 
personated the character of Old Meg the blacksmith's 
wife and Master Grinnidge in one night, and at another 
time "Nelly O'Neill" in the same piece. Those familiar 
with theatricals will readily perceive the marked contrast 
between those three characters. 

Sometimes during a performance many of the officers 
came l)ehind the scenes, when they were, if not regular 
visitors, " chalked," which meant a case of brandy or 
beer. I have even seen a " chit " given for six dozen of 
br^iUdy, which is paying rather dear for the privilege of 
going behind the scenes. The " chits " were kept till the 
day after the performance, when the whole of the ama- 
teurs and the theatrical employes would adjourn to the 



THEATRICALS IN EARNEST. 61 

riding-scliool and discuss the produce of these chits, 
much to their satisfaction, the meeting often proving a 
regular orgie — ^the " speechless ones," as they dropped off, 
being carefully laid in a row in one corner by their more 
sober comrades. 

One day we had so much drink on hand that, wishing 
to get rid of some of it, I, unknown to the remainder, 
got two dozen bottles, opened them, and emptied them 
into the "water chattie" kept for the use of those 
attending riding-school when they were thirsty. The 
next morning there was a squad at riding-drill, and one 
of them asked permission to fall out for a drink of water: 
to his intense surprise and gratification he found, instead 
of the pure beverage as he anticipated, good strong 
brandy-and-water in the " chattie." Taking a hearty 
swig or two he returned to his place, communicating the 
important fact to the men on either side of him, who 
also asked leave to "fall out," and, after paying their 
respects to the chattie, returning and telling others in like 
manner. This sort of thiog continued till the whole ride 
knew of it, and were constantly asking to fall out, and 
as constantly returning smacking their lips and looking 
redder in the face after each visit. 

The sergeant noticing these symptoms, and thinking it 
very strange there should be such an unusual demand 
for water, determined to go himself and ascertain its 
cause if possible. He soon discovered what attracted 
them, and he and his ride plied the chattie so well that 
they got chatty themselves ; and one or two, not content 
with " falling out," must needs " fall off "; and the end of 

4 ♦ 



62 SCRAPS FBOM MY SABRETASCUE. 

it was several found themselves, on waking up from a 
drunken sleep, incarcerated in durance vile. 

About this time, if I remember rightly, the station 
was visited by the King of Gwalior — then quite a lad — 
the Governor-General, the Commander-in-Chief, and 
goodness knows how many other dignitaries ; for, as I was 
Bot on visiting terms with any of them, I cannot be 
expected to bear the whole of their names and ranks in 
my mind. However, the gentlemen amateurs — and the 
station possessed at the same time two regimental com- 
panies — determined to give a ' grand theatrical entertain- 
ment in their honour, none but the elite of the station to 
be admitted, the programmes printed on white satin, and 
every thing done on a scale magnifique. 

Two days before the performance was to take place, the 
leading player. Major Geneste, was taken seriously ill,. 
and in this dilemma the stage-manager, the Hon. F. 
Thesiger, sent for me, requesting me to play Major 
Geneste's character, Tom Noddy, in "Tom Noddy's 
Secret." I undertook to play the part by the time ap« 
pointed ; and before I slept that night I had learnt the 
whole of the character, and could repeat it without my 
part. 

Now, if I was tender upon any subject in the world, it 
was theatricals. I may have been conceited — indeed, I 
know I was — whether or not, I knew that few could sur- 
pass me in the personation and playing in any line of 
character ; and, of course, I knew, excepting the original 
cast, there was no one else who could personate this par- 
ticular character like me, especially on so short a notice. 



THEATEICALS IN EARNEST. 53 

And, private soldier as I was, I expected some little cour- 
tesy to be shown me, considering I was obliging them« 
However, at the first rehearsal, which was at night, also 
a dress one into the bargain, I was treated as if I 
were a coolie, rather than one supplying the place of their 
leading player. My costume was thrown to me, and I 
was directed to dress behind the scenes instead of in the 
green-room. Daring that long night not one individual 
spoke to me except when compelled to address me in the 
piece; and, although there was a supper laid, not a soul 
asked me whether I wanted refreshments or not. I did 
not care for drink, and never drank on the nights of play^ 
so I was careless as far as that went, but I certainly 
liked to be asked. To mend the matter, I was for duty 
the next morning, and the manager had undertaken to 
get me relieved from this ; but I found in the morning 
nothing of the sort had been done. I was so utterly 
disgusted at perceiving I was simply being made a tool 
of, that I wrote at once to the manager requesting him 
to get another Tom Noddy, as I would not be one any 
longer. This quickly brought a visit, and I then told 
the manager my ideas on the subject : — that though but 
a private soldier, during the time I was at the theatre 
playing a leading character I considered myself on the 
same footing as any member of the corps, no matter 
what his rank might be ; the performance over, or out 
of the theatre, I was simply a private, and they were 
officers. 

I remained obdurate in spite of the probable dis- 
appointment of so fashionable an audience, and at this 



54 SCEAPS FBOM MY SABEETASCHE. 

late period I am afraid I showed some little malice in 
my refusal to play. The colonel of my regiment, Colonel 
Doherty, was applied to to coerce me to play; but on 
hearing my tale, he took my view of the case, and said 
he would have served them the same for a shabby lot of 
fellows. I told him, however, if he wished it, or ordered 
me to play, I would do it at either his wish or order. 
" No," said he, " I will not influence you in any way. I 
should have done the same myself had I been in your 
place." " Then, sir," I replied, " if you don't order me, 
I won't play "; and, careless whoever might have composed 
the audience, I did not, and the performance could not 
come off at the time appointed. 

About a month after this a very similar case occurred. 
Curiously enough, another leading player was taken sick 
a day or two before the play. Eecourse was had to me 
again, I being requested to take his character — that of 
" Appleface " in the"Cat8paw" — and it was something 
amusing to see the marked difference in their behaviour 
to me. Everyone was polite, and I was constantly in- 
vited to imbibe. I had a proper place to dress in — in 
fact, nothing was too good for me. Knowing this was 
but the effect of my former withdrawal at a critical 
moment, I appreciated it for what it was worth. I could 
not resist, however, occasionally displaying some of my 
satirical wit at the expense of a little officer in the native 
infantry who would make himself officious about me, 
and who, having about five words to say, assumed all 
the airs of a " star." 

"But," said he, on one occasion, "yon are playing the 



THEATRICALS IN EARNEST. 55 

character of an infantry dmmmer, and you wear an 
imperial. I thonght the cavalry were not allowed to 
wear one?" 

This was touching me in a tender place, for I had 
surreptitiously nurtured the incipient budding of an 
imperial, which under my careful management and 
tender treatment had gradually developed. 

" No," I replied, " we are not supposed to wear them, 
but I like to be a little different from the infantry ; 
and since they have taken to wearing the moustasche, I 
indulge in an imperial." 

« 

Another time, at a dress rehearsal, he came up to 
me and said : 

" Why, your drummer's chevrons are bottom upwards ! " 

" Are they ? " I remarked. " Well, you may under- 
stand that sort of thing, but as I don't associate much 
with foot-soldiers, I haven't the remotest idea which 
way they ought to be." 

These sallies would elicit roars of laughter from the 
bystanders, and for a short time rather embarrass the 
little • officer, who would, however, shortly after make 
another attack, only to sustain another repulse. I must 
say, though, that, deducting his consequential ways, he 
was not a bad little fellow at bottom. To cut the 
matter short, the play was a success, and I never after 
had occasion to complain of want of politeness on the 
part of the "gentlemen amateurs." 



56 SCRAPS FBOM MY SABBETASCHE. 



CHAPTER IX. 



"l LOVE YOU." 



" I LOVE you ! " 

Someliow or other, I could not resist the impulse to 
utter the above impassioned exclamation. 

I had waylaid the fairy-like little being to whom I 
addressed it on her road back from the Catholic Chapel, 
and was escorting her part of the way home, as I often 
used to do, meeting her always, of course, accidentally. 

On this particular morning the sun shone so pleasantly, 
the trees and flowers seemed to possess an additional 
beauty, the air was redolent with fragrance, the very 
birds seemed to be twittering " I love you " to each other, 
and she looked so bewitching as she walked by my side, 
that, for the life of me, I felt I had no alternative but 
saying so too. 

" I love you," I repeated ; for at first she seemed as 
much '' taken aback " at hearing such an expression as I 
was surprised at myself for giving utterance to it. How- 
ever, having broken the ice, I followed up the attack by 



"l LOVE YOU." 57 

blurting out an incoherent string of nonsense all tending 
the same way, when I was brought to a full stop by the 
simple words " Mr. ! " 

The mere utterance of those two words, or, rather, their 
peculiar intonation, conveyed volumes of reproach. " Is 
this your return for our kindness?" continued she, 
drawing her little form up as majestically as a queen. 
" Do you think my mother would have allowed you to 
visit us if she thought you would have repaid her by 
insulting her daughter? Gro ! " cried she, stamping her 
little foot on the road. "Gro! and never come to our 
place again ! " 

Here was a pretty kettle of fish ! Entreaties for for- 
giveness, and promises never to commit myself again, were 
of no avail ; she was inexorable, and pursued her way 
without condescending to notice a word that I said. 

At last, in despair at moving her, I abruptly turned 
away and strode ofE in the direction of my lines with 
what feelings I will leave my readers to imagine, my own 
impression being that I felt decidedly foolish and crest- 
fallen — for that I did love her there was not the slightest 
doubt, and that I had loved her for a long time was 
equally true ; but to give the reader a better idea of the 
circumstances which led to my avowal of love, and its 
consequences, I must retrace my steps backwards for a 
few months. 

Mrs. Curran was a widow belonging to the 1st Europeans, 
her husband having been a sergeant in that corps, but 
having died, she became a sort of appendage to the regi- 
ment till such time as she could either marry again or get 



58 SCRAPS PROM MY SABRETASCHB. 

her daughter married, and eBtablish herself in her son-in- 
law's domicile. 

As to the former, it was not a very probable con- 
tingency, for few would like to be mated with such an 
old harridan ; for, although not yet forty years of age, she 
looked at least seventy* She was styled, by courtesy, a 
half-caste, but the black half predominated to a fearful 
extent, and she might safely have claimed affinity with 
" the ace of spades," for . she was as black as one, and 
as withered and wrinkled as a mummy. 

Black, ugly, and wrinkled as the mother was, many a 
young fellow tried to get into her good graces for the sake 
of her daughter, who was just as plump and fair as her 
mother was the reverse. To see them together no one 
would for a moment imagine that they were mother and 
daughter, so utterly different were they in every way. 

"Rose — that was her name — ^was such a wilful, wicked, 
conceited, pouting, laughing, bright-eyed little pet, that 
one could not avoid falling in love with her ; for if she 
annoyed you mischievously one moment, the next she 
would " walk round you '* with her winning ways, that 
there was no resisting her, you felt strongly tempted to- 
seize hold of her and kiss her to death or run away 
with her as a punishment — at least, I did. 

Eose was betrothed to a sergeant of the regiment, 
who was with it in Burmah on service. It was an under- 
stood thing that she was to be married to him the 
moment the regiment came off the campaign. Knowing 
this, I was very guarded in my behaviour to her. 

I had been for some months past in the habit of 



tt 



I LOVE YOU." 59 



yisiting at her mother's house, and had been on very 
friendly terms with Eose ; we had even written short 
notes to each other on occasion of lending books, <&c.,. 
but not a word of love had ever passed my lips till this 
unfortunate morning. 

Now, however, right or wrong, the ice was broken ; I 
had told her I loved her, with what result the reader has 
seen. 

I reached my quarters and threw myself on my cot, a 
prey to all sorts of conflicting feelings, cursing my 
stupidity for being too precipitate, and thereby depriving 
myself of her society altogether. 

It must not be imagined that I had entered on such a 
proceeding as the above without having had, in my own 
mind, at least, some little encouragement from the girl 
herself to almost warrant my making a declaration of love 
to her with some prospect of success. I could recall 
many actions on her part which convinced me that I was 
not altogether distasteful to her ; that she even liked — 
I will not say loved — me. The smile with which my 
arrival was ever welcomed, the dropping of her eyes when 
they encountered mine, and the gentle blush which 
suffused her face at such times ; the pleasure she displayed 
at everything I said or did, the enjoyment she seemed to 
experience in my society ; the lingering of her hand in 
mine at parting, accompanied, I could almost swear, 
sometimes by a gentle pressure; a thousand little 
nothings in themselves, imperceptible to others, to me 
were evidences that I had but to tell her I loved her ta 
be at once assured by her own lips that I was, in spite of 



^0 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

betrothal to another, not indifferent to her. All these 
pleasant dreams were now knocked on the head in a 
moment, owing to my infernal stupidity in not waiting 
for a proper time and place to tell her I loved her. 

I would have given the world to have been able to 
recall the events of the morning, and continue mj visits 
to her quarters simplj as a friend, enjoying the pleasure 
of her company daily, and keeping my love for her con- 
fined to my own breast ; but this was all at an end for 
ever through my blank stupidity. 

During the course of the day, while thus brooding over 
my sorrows, her ayah arrived bringing a note and a small 
parcel of books I had lent her. Even she seemed to 
sympathise with me, for the expression of her features 
evidently betrayed that she thought there was something 
wrong between her mistress and myself; indeed, she 
hinted as much by a few soothing words, such as *' Missee 
littee cross now, bime-by all brober, sahib. No makee 
too much sorry." I took the letter without saying a word, 
tore it open, and hastily read the contents, which ran 
something like this : — 

" Sib, — After what passed between us this morning, I 
beg you will discontinue your visits to my place, as they 
must be painful to both of us. 

"I send you back the presents you have at various 
times given me, also the books you lent me ; and if you 
have anything of mine, please return it. 

" I shall account to my mother in the best manner I 
can for your absence, without mentioning anything of 
what has occurred. 



"l LOVE YOU.'' 61 

" I did have a better opinion of you than to think you 
would have behaved as you did, knowing how I am 
situated ; but I was mistaken. I can hold out no longer. 
I do love you, dearly, and T always have, from the first 
moment I saw you. I ought to have avoided you, I know, 
when I discovered that I did so, but I foolishly imagined 
I could be constantly near you, and keep the knowledge 
of my love to myself; or, if we were separated at any 
time, that neither you nor anyone else would ever know 
of it. Now I Icnow I could not, and I must tell you I 
love you. I could have told you so a thousand times 
before. Many times, when you, perhaps, have thought 
I was careless and indifferent, I could have flung my 
arms round your neck and told you how dearly I loved 
you. Come again this evening as usual, as if those cruel 
words of mine had never been uttered, as if you had j ust 
said *I love you' and were waiting for a reply; and be 
assured, reckless of betrothal, of all, my answer shall be^ 
both by my lips and every action of my life, the echo of 
those dear words of yours, — * I love you.' " 



62 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASCHE. 



CHAPTER X. 

DUMMY. 

Hoo-hoo-hoo-oo-oo-0-0 ! 

Startled by such a diabolical jell, or rather series of 
yells, Rose and I hastily looked up from our employment 
to ascertain the cause of it, and beheld a fat old woman 
frantically gesticulating at us ; beating her breast, kissing 
her fingers, and going through a variety of pantomime 
with her fingers and hands. The old woman was deaf 
and dumb. 

Rose and I had been comfortably seated at table, 
pleasantly occupied in " making love under difficulties," 
by writing on slips of paper and passing them to each 
other, as if they contained extracts from various poets, 
when in reality we were making all sorts of vows of love 
to each other under cover of that process. 

The old lady, her mother, was busily plying her needle, 
and as she was entirely innocent of any knowledge of 
reading or writing, she would have remained in blissful 
ignorance of our pleasant mode of passing the time, but 
for the untimely arrival of the deaf and dumb woman, or, 
as she was called, " the Dummy," Mrs. Macgaverin. 



DUMMY. 63 

Knowing her to be deaf and dumb, we naturally thought 
she must also not be able to understand reading or writing. 
We, therefore, pursued our interesting occupation utterly 
indifferent whether " Dummy '* was there or not, till, 
startled by her yelling, and seeing her antics, we began to 
form some idea that it was just possible for a " dummy " 
to read and also to tdl. This we soon found out to our 
sorrow. 

She had been intently watching us for some time, and 
had seen enough to convince her that we were making 
violent love to each other, right under the eyes of the 
unsuspicious mother, without her knowledge or sanction, 
and at once conceived it her duty to make the mother 
acquainted with such a breach of confidence. 

Mrs. Macgaverin rapidly manipulated her fingers, and 
gave, no doubt, an eloquent account of our little game at 
caligraphy, to the horror and anger of the mother of 
'Rose, who, without more ado, ordered me out of the 
place, with a very pressing desire that I would not fatigue 
myself by again venturing there. Of course, I had no 
alternative, and I retired from the scene of my poetical 
effusions somewhat crest-fallen; as for Bose, finding 
pleading was of no avail, she had recourse to tears, and 
in that state I left her undergoing a lecture from her 
indignant mother. 

Being prohibited from seeing each other at the girl's 
quarters, we naturally (however wronglj) endeavoured to 
devise some expedient so that we might meet at other 
places without the knowledge of her mother. 

£ose, as I mentioned in the last chapter, had an ayahy 



64 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHB. 

and, seeing no other help for it, took this girl into her 
confidence, and she assisted us materiallj bj being the 
means of communication between us, bringing me two' or 
three hillet'cUmx daily, and receiving a similar number 
in return, which she faithfully conveyed to her young 
mistress. 

In this manner a plan was arranged so that I should at 
least be able to see her daily. It was this : — the Catholic 
priest was organising a choir of singers for his chapeU 
and, being an energetic character, he managed to collect 
many recruits from the different regiments stationed at 
Meerut, and among them were upwards of a dozen women 
and girls. Rose being a Catholic, I easily persuaded her 
to become one of the singers — fully bent on being one 
nayself eventually. I, therefore, obtained a prayer-book 
from her, and at once set to work to learn the whole of 
the Latin for the different services. This task, inspired 
by love, I accomplished in a very few days. 

My next plan was to get invited to join the singers; 
for I, as a Protestant, could not reasonably go and ask to 
be admitted among them as a singer only. I thought 
this over for a long time ; at length I fancied I could see 
mj way clear how it might be done, and I hastened to 
put my plan into practice. 

One evening I entered the chapel in plain clothes while 
they were at practice, sat down in a prominent place close 
by them, directly in front of the priest, and prepared to 
listen to the singing, having at the same time an eye to 
the success of my plan. All eyes were naturally turned 
on me (those of Eose in particular), for they could tell I 



DUMMr. 65 

was not a regular visitant. The singing proceeded ; and, 
of course, having but recently commenced practising, 
there was occasionally a little discord, which I took care 
to show I noticed by fid getting when it occurred. The 
priest I observed was not slow in perceiving that I did 
so, which was just the thing I wanted. I repeated this 
process for several evenings, till the priest got quite into 
the habit of looking towards me as if watching for my 
approval or disapproval. In the meanwhile I was not 
wasting my time, for, having a quick ear for music, I 
learnt the tunes of the different hymns and chants very 
rapidly ; but apparently taking no notice of Rose, nor 
speaking to a soul there. 

One evening, after they had practised for some time, 
the priest came up to me and said, " Young man, I have 
noticed that you have regularly attended our practices for 
the last seven or eight evenings, and when there has been 
any little discord, I could see by your manner that you 
detected it. Perhaps, as you seem to take such an 
interest in our singing, you might be induced to join us, 
and give us the advantage of your voice as well as your 
presence." 

I told him that having accidentally passed the chapel 
while the singing was going on one evening, I had entered 
out of curiosity, attracted by the music ; since then I had 
attended purely from the pleasure of listening to it. I 
added, I should be most happy to assist, but I was afraid 
there was an in superable objection to it — in fact, that I 
was a Protestant. 

" Don't let that be an obstacle," he replied, " anything 

5 



66 SCRAPS FROM MY 8ABBETASCUE. 

in such a cause, no matter whether it comes from a 
Protestant or Catholic, will be acceptable." 

"At that rate," I answered, " I shall be most happy to 
assist." 

He, having first ascertained I could sing a second, but 
little thinking I knew every note and word of the service, 
requested me to accompany him in the Lucis Creator 
Optime. First glancing my eye to where Eose sat, to give 
me confidence, and to let her see that it should not be my 
fault if my plan did not succeed, I sang my best, and 
acquitted myself so creditably, that the priest expressed 
himself highly delighted with my singing, and con- 
gratulated himself on the acquisition my voice would be 
to the choir, having no suspicion what a wolf in sheep's 
-clothing he was turning loose into his fold. 

I was henceforth installed as one of the singers, and 
passed many pleasant hours among them, always managing 
io be near Bose, and seeing her to the " lines " in which 
her mother's quarters were, every evening. This agree- 
iible state of things did not last many weeks, for it, 
unfortunately, came to her mother's ears, and Eose was 
not allowed to go to the chapel any more unless accom- 
panied by the old lady. I was thus deprived of my 
pleasant evenings, the choir of a voice, and Eose of my 
escort back every evening. 

Our next plan for meeting was as follows : — Eose, at 
my instigation, pretended sickness, and was sent to the 
hospital, and I made the acquaintance of a motherly 
old lady of the 81st Foot, to whom I related my love for 
the girl, begging her assistance so far as to allow me 



DUMMY. 67 

to keep a woman's outfit in her quarters so that I might 
be able to disguise myself there, and from thence sally 
forth, as a female, and visit I^se in hospital. 

The old lady, after hearing my story, hugged me 
round the neck, and exclaimed, ''I wish I was a girl 
and you were running after me, you shouldn't have to 
run far, nor disguise yourself neither, for I'd run after 
you, in spite of all the mothers in the world." Of 
course, I felt flattered. 

She ga^e the required permission at once, fitted up 
nails for me to hang my female fixings on, and every 
evening, with the sanction of her husband, who used to 
look on admiringly when I was fully equipped as a 
lady, she assisted me in dressing, gave nie a hearty kiss 
and a blessing, and sent me out on my adventures. 

There were several women in the hospital as well as 
Eose, but confident in my disguise and thorough know- 
ledge of the " business " required of me as a female — 
for which I must thank my theatrical training — ^I fear- 
lessly ventured among them, freely gossiping with 
them, when circumstances compelled me, often sitting 
with three or four of them on the bed, chatting on various 
subjects, without so much as their entertaining the 
slightest suspicion but that I was a bond fide woman 
belonging to another regiment.* This, however, lasted 



* This was easily managed ; the lines occupied by the depdt of the 
Ist Europeans were also occupied by the depdt of the 18th Royal 
Irish, the 81st Foot, and some Artillery. The women's hospital I 
xillude to was for the women and children of the above corps only. 
The lines of the 14th were about a mile distant ; the women of the 

5* 



68 SCRAPS FfiOM MY SABBETASCHE. 

only for about a fortnight, for the doctor discharged her 
from the hospital as recovered, he, perhaps, by this time 
finding out there was really nothing the matter with her„ 
or she not being able to " scheme "* any longer. 

A variety of plans were arranged after this, and I used 
to go in all sorts of disguises to snatch a few moments in 
her company of an evening.f But all our schemes of 
happiness were abruptly put a stop to by a sudden order 
for the depot of the Ist Europeans to proceed at once to 
Dinapore to join the regiment, which had already left 
Burmah and was en route for that place. 



14th had their own hospital. I could, therefore, pass myself off easily 
as a woman of the latter, and, knowing every woman in the regiment, 
could readily answer any question that might be put to me on any 
subject without danger of being discovered. I have mixed with the 
women under more peculiar circumstances still, and never — fortu- 
nately for me — was even suspected. 

* Pretend sickness. 

t It may not be amiss here to show what power priests wield over 
their flocks. I used often to go in disguise to the chapel, among other 
places, and was undetected invariably ; but for some reason or other 
Rose went to confession one Saturday afternoon, and, of course, made 
a clean breast of it. In the evening I met her, and, to my surprise, was 
received very coolly. I could plainly perceive she had been influenced 
against me by some one ; but all my inquiries failed to elicit satisfac- 
toiy replies, till, it suddenly stiiking me it was Saturday — confession 
day — I taxed her with having been to confession, and that the priest 
had caused this change in her demeanour. After some few struggles 
she told me she had been to confession, and that the priest had 
refused her absolution. She was to have no correspondence with me 
in any shape or foi*m, and come back at the end of a week and confess 
again, when the priest would, if he thought her deserving of it, give 
her absolution. It may easily be conceived by this, how they may 
influence females for either good or bad purposes. Often the latter,. 
as I have had oppoi-tunities of knowing. 



DUMMY. 69 

I will not attempt to describe our separation ; it was 
painful on both sides ; nor should she have gone, for I 
would have risked everything, but that my regiment was 
also under orders to march to Bombay, and from theuce 
proceed to the Crimea, so that there was no help for it. 

I never saw her afterwards ; but on arriving at Kirkee, 
I received a letter from her, saying she was now free, her 
betrothed being dead; giving me some account of his 
death, which occurred under peculiar circumstances, which 
I may as well relate. 

It seems the depot from Meerut, in which 'Rose was 
proceeding to Dinapore, and the regiment from Burmah, 
in which was her betrothed, also proceeding thither, were 
each one day's distance from Dinapore in opposite direc- 
tions, and must consequently meet the next day. The 
young man was somewhat of a sportsman, and seeing an 
alligator in the river, a short distance from the steamer, 
he got his gun and fired at it. In doing so, he over- 
reached himself and tumbled into the water, and the 
probability is that he became food for the monster he had 
intended to shoot, for he never rose again, while the 
alligator was seen to dive under as if in pursuit of a 
meal. This accident left Eose free, in consequence of 
which she at once wrote to me, thinking now all obstacles 
were removed to our union. 

I'illed with hope at such a bright prospect, I wrote ofiE 
at once, telling her that our departure for the Cr imea was 
countermanded, the war having come to a close ; that I 
should only be too happy to make her mine now that all 
obstacles were removed, and would send for her as soon as 



70 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABRETASOHE. 

I received an answer from her, letting me know how 
I could best manage it, and that I would apply for 
permission at once. 

I waited anxiously, but no answer came. I wrote againi 
and again till I was nearly distracted, but with the same 
result. At length, concluding that she had thrown me 
aside for some more favoured individual, I gave way to 
despair, and discontinued writing. 

Soon after I heard from other sources that she was 
married to the regimental sergeant-major of the 1st 
Europeans. This, of course, settled all my hopes with a 
vengeance, and I resolutely tried to forget her, though, I 
am afraid, with but poor success. 

I heard no more about her till four years after. I was 
then with my regiment in front of Gwalior, having in the 
interval gone through three years of hardships in the 
shape of marching, fighting, and what not; enough to 
make me forget there was such a word as love, to say 
nothing of the object of it. I was sitting in my tent one 
day when a letter came directed to me in her well-known 
handwriting. If there is such a thing as knocking one 
down with a straw, that operation might easily have been 
performed on me at that moment, for I felt ready to drop. 
I was afraid to open it in the tent, for I was so overcome 
with the sight of her handwriting, that I thought I had 
better go away by myself to read the contents for fear I 
should betray myself before the men. I, therefore,, 
strolled out of camp, and sitting down on a bank, tore- 
open the letter with a beating heart and devoured its- 
contents. 



DUMMY. 71 

It was written from Roorkee, where the 1st Europeans 
were stationed, and sketched all that happened from the 
time I left her. She had but recently discovered that 
her mother had intercepted all my letters to her, and 
likewise those written by Eose to me, with the exception 
of the first one, which, as she knew nothing of it, she could 
not intercept. The poor girl had consequently arrived at 
a similar conclusion to mine — that I had forgotten her, 
or thrown her aside for some one else ; she had, therefore, 
in despair, accepted the first eligible offer, and married 
the regimental sergeant-major, with whom she led a most 
wretched life. She wound up with incoherent expressions 
of unaltered love to me ; that she would — regardless of 
her marriage ties — leave her husband and find her way to 
me, if 1 still entertained the same feelings for her, and 
would receive one so guilty as she. 

Here was a pretty fix to be in ! I found that I still 
loved her as much as ever. That letter had stirred up 
every half- dormant feeling of my heart, and I felt as if 
we had not been separated a day. But had I wished it 
ever so, how could she come to me through a country 
swarming with rebels? Or, if she even succeeded in 
reaching me, it was not very probable she would be allowed 
to remain, which would make things ten times more 
desperate. I, therefore, wrote a hurried reply, that I 
loved her as dearly as ever, but entreated her, if not for 
her own, for my sake, to bear as well as she could her 
present unhappy life, and on no account to leave her 
husband, or endeavour to join me ; explaining, as well as 
I could, its utter impossibility. I concluded by bidding 



72 SCRAPS FBOH MT SABBETASCHE. 

lier hope for happier tdmes, when the war was over, and 
we were once more in qoarters, when, if she still held 
to her determination, I would gladly receive her, and 
endeavour bj mj love to efface all remembrance of her 
present unhappiness. 

I never had another letter from her, from what cause 
I never could ascertain, and, of course, I could Dot write 
for fear of committing her, in case the letter should fall 
into her husband*s hands. A few months after the 
Mutiny was suppressed we were ordered down to Bombay, 
and shortly afterwards my regiment was ordered to 
England, and I accompanied it. 

Two years after I arrived home I left the service. 
One day I accidentally encountered a man who had for- 
merly belonged to the 1st Europeans ; on getting into 
conversation with him, I found out a little more about 
Bose. It seems her husband led her an awful life, for 
he was perpetually taunting his wife with her former 
intimacy with me — some kindly-disposed person having 
made him acquainted with it probably — or, perhaps, he 
had become possessed of my letter. Be that as it may, 
he was constantly taunting her about me. One day he 
had done so beyond her powers of endurance, when she 
in her passion suddenly seized a knife and stabbed him. 
Whether he died from the efEects of the wound, or what 
became of her afterwards, the man could not tell me ; for 
he was on the eve of leaving the regiment when it 
occurred. 

Poor girl! I have never heard a sentence about her 
from that day to this ; but though twenty years have 



i 



DUMMV. 73 

passed since I told her I loved her, I often feel sad 
even now when I think of her unhappy life and probable 
fate. 

And this tragic termination to our pleasant though 
stealthy love-making, was brought about through that 
infernal old Dummy's Hoo-hoo-hoo-oo-oo-o-o ! 



74 SCEAPS FEOM MY SABEETASOHE. 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE MAEOH TO KIEKEE. 

At this time the British were at war with Eussia ; and,, 
to our great joy, we were ordered to hold ourselves in 
readiness to proceed to Bombay for the purpose of joining^ 
the forces in the Crimea, by the overland route. 

We hastily disposed of our superfluous kits and the 

various sundries which had accumulated during our long 

stay at Meerut — for some of us had enough clothing and 

other et-ceteras to break the back of an elephant — and 

reduced them to regimental dimensions. 

In a few days the order to march came, and off we 
started, in high feather at the chance of having a go in, 
the band of the 81 st playing us out of the station ; the 
men of the different regiments stationed at Meerut, no 
doubt, envying our prospect of soon getting into the 
thick of honour and glory. 

We were not destined to get away so easily, however,, 
for at Hauper, a place where the well-known stud is. 



THE MAECH TO KIRKEE. /5 

kept, the second day's march from Meerut, a courier 
came in, miounted on an express camel*; he was the 
bearer of orders from head-quarters for us to return to 
that station, which we did, to our intense disgust and 
annoyance. 

Having disposed of all the fixings which made the 
barracks look habitable, we found on our return the rooms 
empty -looking and desolate ; the very appearance of them, 
together with our disappointment, made us feel anything 
but cheerful. There was no help for it, however, and we 
put the best face on the matter we could. Shortly after, 
owing, I believe, to some representations made to head- 
quarters, we were again ordered off, and this time with 
better success. 

This being my first march with the regiment, everything 
for the first few days wore a novel appearance, altogether 
different from my marching up the country as a recruit. 
There we had mostly bullock-hackeries to carry our tents 
and baggage ; here, we had elephants and camels, and it 
was astonishing to see how expert the men were in loading 
them. By-the-bye, I had always heard and read of the 
patience of the camel, but a more impatient and can- 
tankerous animal I would not wish to see ; apparently 
taking a grim delight in throwing all sorts of obstacles in 
the way of loading, by snapping at the loaders, or trying 
to struggle up and shake off its load just at the ticklish 
moment when the wretch knew the final knot was to be 



* Some of these camels are said to travel as much as 350 miles in 
one day, and to continne this for several days in succession. 



76 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBErASCHK. 

tied, which would render all secure *; often succeeding, too, 
to the annoyance of the men, who would have all the 
work to do over again, while the offending camel would 
wohhle out his intestines (I always put this down as his 
peculiar way of expressing his glee), as if he enjoyed the 
^xtra trouble he caused them. 

I could not but admire the regularity with which a 
camp was laid out, and the rapidity with which the tents 
were pitched, causing what had a few minutes before been 
only a waste bit of ground, or a corn-field, to assume the 
appearance of a tented city, it baing laid out in streets 
according to the troops. Thus, the regiment consisting 
of eight troops, there were eight rows of tents; space 
being left between the rows of tents for the " horse lines," 
that is, two rows of horses with a pathway between ; each 
row of tents, or troop of men, having two rows of horses ; 
the horses being picketed opposite the tents to which 
their respective owners or riders belonged. 

In the centre of the camp was the main street — a wide 
space having four troops, with their horse lines on either 
side. Exactly in front of this street, and at some little 
distance, was the main-guard tent, and that of the 
regimental sergeant-major; facing these, at the other or 
rear-end of the street, was the officers' mess-tent, &c. The 
officers* tents and hospital tents were in rear of the tents 
of the men, and behind all was the rear-guard tent. Of 



* Long experience had taught the men that, if they wished the 
baggage to be brought in expeditiously and safely, the best way was 
to fasten it on securely themselves, repudiating native assistance 
altogether. 



THE MARCH TO KIEKEE. 77 

the camp-followers, and they were very numerous, some 
slept in the horse lines, or under the lee of tents, &c., but 
the greater portion lived a short distance from the camp. 
There was also a large bazaar with the regiment ; its 
long street of small tents, with the wares of various kinds 
temptingly displayed in front of each of them, was 
pitched at a convenient distance, and reminded one 
greatly of the stalls in a fair ; and it certainly must have 
been a great convenience, not only to the natives, but to 
many of the men ; for almost anything required by them 
on the road was to be obtained in the bazaar, and which 
could not possibly have been got but for it. 

We used to start at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning,, 
according to the length of the march, so as to get to the 
next camping-ground before the sun was very high. The 
first blast of the trumpet which roused us was the signal 
for a general hubbub. In a moment such a din arose as 
it would be impossible to describe ; hundreds of fires 
were lighted, throwing a lurid glare on all around, in the 
midst of which were seen tents falling, and men, horses,. 
camels, and elephants apparently in the most inextricable 
confusion. This was heightened by the shouts of the 
men, the neighing and snorting of horses, the trumpeting 
of elephants, the guttural growling of camels, and a 
hundred other indescribable sounds, making the camp 
for a time appear a perfect pandemonium. A very short 
time, however, sufficed to reduce all this confusion to- 
something like order ; the tents were struck and packed,. 
the animals loaded, the horses saddled and bridled, each 
man standing by the head of his horse, waiting for the 



78 SCRAPS FBOM MY SABEETASCHE. 

sound to mount, when we silently filed out of the lines, 
** fell in," were " told off," and on the road in no time ; 
seeing, while this went on, strings of loaded elephants and 
camels noiselessly gliding off into the darkness like so 
many phantoms. A glance behind, as we were leaving 
what had been our camp, would show us the fires still 
burning, with the camp-followers, who had not yet 
" cleared out," running hither and thither among the 
fires, and appearing in the distance like so many 
demons. 

It is needless to describe the incidents of the road, or 
enumerate the places of note we passed, among which may 
be reckoned the celebrated Taj at Agra, and the fort at 
Owalior ; suffice it to say that, after a long but pleasant 
march through all sorts of wild and beautiful scenery, 
we at length reached Kirkee, a cavalry station about five 
miles distant from Poena, in the Bombay Presidency. 



79 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE BULL PUP. 

We had no sooner arrived at Kii'kee than we received 
intimation that the orders to proceed to the Crimea were 
countermanded; so that oar long joumej counted for 
nothing more than a shift of quarters, besides knocking 
up the horses, many of which were condemned as worn 
out and unfit for service. As soon as possible, therefore, 
those whose horses were cast were remounted on young 
horses, the breaking-in of which occupied them fully for 
some months. 

In the meantime, as I always had an eye to all sorts 
of amusements to beguile our leisure hours, I had not 
been idle, but had looked out a suitable building for a 
theatre, and soon transformed it into a very comfortable 
little place. The finances of the theatrical company being 
in a somewhat shaky condition, through the mismanage- 
ment and extravagance of a former manager, I was elected 
stage-manager, and empowered by the Colonel to do what 
I thought necessary to get the company out of debt. I 



80 SCRAPS FfiOM MY SABEETASCHE. 

was even struck off duty so that I might devote my whole 
time to this purpose, and I was, after a few months, able 
to clear off old debts and issue dividends to the members 
according to their rank, a thing that had never been 
heard of before among them ; so that I got credit, not 
only as a player and manager, but as a first-class financier. 
I likewise started dances in the regiment again, and was 
rewarded by the gratitude of all the women of the regi- 
ment — the young ones in particular. These and other 
amusements caused the time to slip away very pleasantly, 
in spite of our disappointment about not being sent to 
the Crimea. 

My position as stage-manager, master of the ceremonies^ 
and the being recognised as a bit of a poet as well, made me 
a great favourite with the girls of the regiment; and, I 
believe, not one of them would have refused an offer of 
marriage from me. I am afraid, on looking back after 
this lapse of time, that I must have been abominably 
conceited — an egregious fop, and something of a man- 
flirt as well ; but whatever I was, I am bound in honesty 
not to hide my failings, or make myself appear more 
virtuous than I really was, and I '11 make no attempt at 
doing so. I, therefore, frankly admit, right or wrong, 
that I felt not the slightest compunction in writing 
amatory poetical effusions, or making violent love to 
half-a-dozen different girls at the same time. 

Among the girls of the regiment was one known by 
the soubriquet of the " Bull Pup." I forbear to mention 
her real name, but many will remember her by that name 
even now. She could not have been above fifteen, and, 



THE BULL PUP. 81 

altboagli she was remarkably plain — ^haying a roand " full 
moon " face, large mouth, and a snub, or rather reirotissS 
nose, which got her the cognomen of the " Bull Pup *' — 
jet she had beautiful hair, bright eyes, a soft voice, and 
was a well- shaped graceful girl, being withal an excellent 
singer and dancer. She was, therefore, if you could look 
over her face, what I should call a nice little lovable girl ; 
somewhat gushing, but that is often pleasant, especially 
when the gushing has a tendency to flow in your direction. 
She was, also, a great admirer of my verses, which, perhaps, 
caused me to feel a greater interest in her than I other- 
wise should. 

I first got into favour with her by soothing her girlish 
feelings, which had been deeply hurt by being slighted 
at one of the dances. Her mother — as some mothers 
absurdly do — indulged the foolish notion of keeping the 
girl, although she was quite womanly in her development, 
in clothes ridiculously short ; and the girl felt this keenly, 
the more so because, owing to this, she knew that she was 
looked upon as a little chit of a girl, while she felt that 
she was in reality a woman ; and this peculiar costume 
affected her so greatly, that, much as she liked dancing, 
she could hardly get a partner while any of the more 
womanly-dressed girls were disengaged. 

One night a young sergeant, seeing all the ladies had 
partners except the ** Bull Pup," requested her to " stand 
np" with him, which, of course, she readily agreed to, 
especially as he was a good-looking young fellow. He was 
about to lead her out, when a woman of the regiment whom 
he knew entered. He, without scruple, at once deliberately 

6 



82 SCRAPS FROM MT SABRETASCHE. 

left the girl, walked over to the woman, and engaged her 
instead, leading her off regardless of what the girl might 
think of his conduct. This natorallj hurt the poor girl's 
feelings very much, and she sat down on a seat, pouting, 
and looking as if she felt yerj much disposed to hare a 
good cry. Seeing her sit thus, I went to her, and said, 
"Have you no partner?" "No," she replied, half- 
sobbing ; " Sergeant Mayhew did engage me, but, seeing 
Mrs. Eames come in, he left me and engaged Aer, because 
she was a woman, I suppose, and I am only a girl in 
short dresses." 

I at once offered my services, which she gratefully 
accepted; that is, if I could judge by the look of her 
eyes. Shortly after, I rebuked the sergeant, in her pre- 
sence, for his want of politeness, which seemed to gratify 
her very much, for she looked as if she thought I was 
quite a champion. My manner towards her gave her such 
confidence that she did not hesitate to innocently ask me 
to stand up with her next time, and to always dance with 
her. I explained the impossibility of doing the latter, 
but I did dance the next time with her, and several more 
dances during the evening, and I could plainly see I had 
quite won the heart of the little "Bull Pup " by my 
unlooked-for kindness. 

Although she was very plain, she had several eligible 
offers — ^the particulars of which she used to confide to me, 
so that I considered myself in the light of her confidential 
friend and adviser ; but she declined them all, perhaps 
thinking I should eventually propose for her ; for we had 
certainly become very affectionate, she thinking nothing 



THE BULL POP. 83 

•of allowing me to kiss her. She would even steal out of an 
•evening to meet me, and on receipt of a few verses would 
throw her arms round mj neck and outpaj them with 
kisses. 

One evening, we had snatched a hurried meeting, 
and were bidding each other an affectionate farewell — 
our faces being in unaccountably close proximity — when, 
through the gloom, we fancied we saw pass the form 
of one of the rejected suitors of the girl — ^a. corporal of 
her own troop. Uncertain whether he had observed us 
or not, she hastened into her house, and I speedilj 
•evaporated in a contrary direction. 

In the morning there were floating rumours about that 
the " Bull Pup " had been seen overnight kissing a miin 
near her house. These rumours in the course of time 
xeached her mother's ears, and she taxed her daughter 
with the monstrous crime of surreptitiously kissing some 
•one, and insisted on knowing who the individual was« 
The girl stoutly denied the imputation, protested it was 
& calumny invented by some evil-disposed pdrson who 
would probably have liked to have undergone that opera- 
tion himself ; reminding her mother that on the particular 
•evening in question she sat with her sewing and never 
once quitted her side, so how could it possibly have taken 
place? 

The mother determined to fathom this mystery to the 
bottom, so she set to work to find out who first promul- 
gated in the regiment such vile -slander concerning her 
daughter, and after some trouble succeeded in finding 
•out the originator of it, who, proving to be a rejected 

6« 



84 SCRAPS F£OM MY SABBETASOHE. 

suitor, she gave bim the credit, in her o?m mind, of circu- 
lating the scandal out of revenge. The old lady was 
in such a way about it that she declared she would horse- 
whip him herself, and at once proceeded to put her threat 
into execution. She sought him out and commenced 
laying into him lustily with the whip, which, of course, 
the surp^;ised corporal did not submit to long, for he 
easily took the whip from the enraged mother. The case 
was brought before the captain of the troop, and he, 
hearing the particulars, also concluded that the corporal 
had spread the report out of malice; he therefore gave 
him a severe lecturing, and after mildly rebuking the 
old lady for resorting to violent measures by taking the 
law into her own hands in vindication of her daughter's 
character, dismissed the case. The corporal thus got 
the credit of being a revengeful discarded lover ; the 
mother was held to be one that would " stick up " for her 
daughter's reputation ; and the daughter was esteemed 
a much maligned and ill-used girl, and gained the 
sympathy of all the other girls of the regiment. 

We had many a laugh afterwards over the adventure,, 
but were very careful to confine the real facts of the case 
to ourselves, so that they never oozed out. As for the 
corporal, so much was his conduct reprobated by every- . 
one that in time, I believe, he thought he must have been 
mistaken, and that he really was the unprincipled and 
vindictive individual he was currently represented to be. 

While I am at it, I may just as well relate another 
curious incident, which, although it did not take place 
just in the order I here put it, will not inappropriately 



THE BULL PUP. 8S 

' close this chapter. I relate it onlj as showing a queer 
side of human nature, and that the awful and the comical 
maj be blended together. The reader must not suppose, 
either, that I was serious in my portion of the incident. 

The *' Bull Pup " had a married sister much older than 
herself, with whom I was on verj friendly terms, often 
Tisiting her at her husband's quarters, and was treated 
•both by herself and her husband with marked kindness. 

One day the husband of this sister took it into his head 
to quit this mortal sphere, leaving his disconsolate widow 
to mourn his loss. Nearly all the married people and 
their families attended the funeral, and I, though not 
married, politely escorted two young ladies of the regi- 
ment there, so that I was equivalent to a married man 
and family. 

I must confess I was somewhat shocked at the levity 
of these girls, for the whole of their conversation, during 
our progress to the cemetery, and when one ought naturally 
to have had serious thoughts, was about plays, dances, 
novels, new dresses, and a variety of other inappropriate 
funereal topics. This made me begin to think of the widow, 
and wonder what her ideas on things in general might be ; 
whether she might not at the present moment be revolv- 
ing all sorts of plans in her own mind as to what she will 
do now she is again free, and who she has got her eye on 
for a second. Having a dim recollection that I had heard 
some peculiar tales of the rapidity with which widows 
can forget their defunct lords, I determined, if possible, 
to test this one on the road back from the cemetery, as to 
4Jie likelihood of her remaining long in that lonely state. 



86 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASCHE. 

When the funeral obsequies were over, therefore, I 
gradually edged near to the widow, who was disconso- 
lately looking on whilst the men were filling up the- 
grave ; and when the last shovelful of mould was placed 
on his grave, and she was in the act of tearing herself 
away from so melancholy a sight, I demurely offered her 
my arm to conduct her away from the hallowed spot, 
and take her to her now solitary home. She as demurely 
took my arm as I had offered it, and we proceeded home- 
wards. Not a word broke the silence for some time, not 
a sound but her suppressed sobbing, till at last I thought 
if I wanted to carry out my plan I must commence at 
once. I, therefore, in a soothing voice, intimated that she 
should not give way to unavailing grief, but rather think 
how she might forget her bereavement as soon as possible. 
" In fact," I continued, " I sought the opportunity of 
escorting you home so that I might speak to you on a 
subject nearest my heart — to offer my services — a — in 
endeavouring to soothe your natural grief — and — a — ^you 
know — at least, I always fancied you perceived — you 
must — that I — I — always had a — a — sincere regard for 
you. Let me then — that is — consider me as your devoted 
admirer — your lover, and I will hope, eventually, your — 
a — ^husband." 

" Oh, Mr. ! " exclaimed she, "I am so sorry ! Yes, 

I always did think you a veiy nice young man. But — 
Sergeant Wiggings spoke to me on this subject coming 
dowUy and I have accepted him." 

Coming down! Accepted him! This reply knocked 
me out of time altogether. I thought I was going to be^ 



THE BULL PUP. 8T 

remarkably smart in catching her coming from the ceme- 
tery ; hnt here was one sharp enongh to catch her going 
io the cemetery, propose for her, be accepted, and all this 
done nnder the very nose, or rather behind the body, of 
her defunct husband on his last journey to his final rest- 
ing place. 

The old soldier, when in a moralising mood, would 
remark, " Women are strange animals." After seeing the 
widow home, I went off home myself, and moralised in a 
similar strain. 



88 SCRAPS FBOM MY 8ABBBTAS0HK. 



CHAPTER Xni. 

THE TABLES TURNED. 

As I mentioned in a previous chapter, I was elected 
stage-manager of the theatrical corps belonging to the 
regiment ; this election was ratified by the Colonel, and 
I was empowered by him, through the Adjutant, to do 
what I thought necessary to get the company out of 
debt. 

My first proceeding was naturally to curtail the ex- 
penses as much as I possibly could ; this I did by closely 
mspecting all bills, and ascertaining whether the articles 
mentioned in them had been really used or not *; never 
allowing anything to be sent for by the workmen without 
an order from me ; I taking care to know first that they 
really wanted it, and what they wanted it for. Then I 
cut off such extravagances as suppers after performances 



* Under former managements, it was a common thing if a workman 
wanted a few rupees, to go to the purveyor, get the rupees, and tell 
him to put it in the bill as so many yards of cloth, pounds of paint, &c. 
It is needless to say the shopkeeper did not lose by this, but that 
we did. 



THE TABLES TURNED. 89 

were over, as not being a legitimate way of expending 
theatrical funds, and tending only to demoralise the 
members of the company by setting them '' on the spree " 
after each performance, thus getting the body of amateurs 
a bad name. 

By pursuing this system — ^though at first I incurred a 
•certain amount of odium, as being a bit of a tyrant, and a 
nip-cheese to boot — ^in the long run the whole of them 
found it was for their own good, and as our debt 
-decreased, their dividends and my popularity increased in 
ratio, till, finally, the wisdom of my proceedings was 
fully recognised by all hands. 

I must here relate a trifling but amusing incident which 
occurred at the commencement of my reign, to show what 
opposition — I had almost said mutiny — ^I had to encounter. 
Among other expenses incidental to the theatre was that 
of the band for the orchestra. These men, numbering 
about twenty, belonged to the regimental band, and were 
allowed certain pay and refreshment every night of a 
performance, whether their services were required to play 
in a piece or not ; and they had a very easy and pleasant 
time of it, often having nothing to do but look on, 
-<K)nsequently they were able to enjoy the performance, 
with the additional gratification of receiving pay for it 
-as well. 

But these men, knowing the difficulties under which I 

laboured in my efforts to get the company out of debt, 

and being themselves, at present, the only ones who 

received payment for their services, fancying — as they 

•<could not be dispensed with — ^any terms they chose to 



90 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABRETASCHB. 

make must necessarilj be complied with, demanded an 
increase of paj ; threatening, if their demand was not 
acceded to, to refuse to play the music required in the 
pieces ; in other words, to strike for higher wages. 

Annoyed by their ingratitude and want of consideration, 
I resolutely refused to give them an increase till such 
time as we were fairly out of debt. No more was said 
on the subject ; but shortly after, a performance was to 
take place, in which it was announced I was to sing a 
comic song between the pieces. I went to the bandmaster, 
arranged the accompaniment with him, and everything 
was apparently progressing all right. 

However, the day before the play was to take place, 
one of the bandsmen came and informed me that his 
comrades intended to spoil my song by playing a wrong 
accompaniment, which would naturally throw me out, and 
probably cause me to break down. Thanking the man 
for his kindness, I immediately made arrangements to 
neutralise or counteract this conspiracy. 

The song I was to sing was "Vilkins and his 
Dinah"; and I was supposed to carry a clarionet under 
my arm while singing it. I at once set to work steadily 
to master the tune on the instrument, which I, after 
much practice, succeeded in too-too-ing off to admiration. 
Confident now, I did not care what they played, as I 
could play the air of my song after they had finished 
whatever they intended playing, and give myself the^ 
key-note. 

The performance took place the next night ; everything 
went off successfully, till I appeared on the stage to sing 



THE TABLES TUBNED. 91 

my soBg, when, instead of the band playing " Vilkins and 
his Dinah," they struck up the " College Hornpipe." I 
was quite prepared for the occasion, but waited patiently 
till they had finished, when I publicly reprimanded them 
for their scandalous behayiour, and told them it was 
fortunate I was not left entirely at their mercy, for that I 
could do without their assistance. I, forthwith, too-too-ed 
the tune out on the clarionet, sang the first verse, and 
then called on the gallery to join in the chorus ; I need 
not say they cheerfully responded and lustily joined in. 
I then too-too-ed the air over on the clarionet, repeating 
the same process at each verse till the finish, when there 
was a perfect storm of applause, and I had to sing it 
again; so that the trick the band thought to play me 
turned out to their discredit and to my triumph. 

Some of the officers came behind the scenes to ascertain 
the cause of such an unwonted proceeding; among the 
rest was the Adjutant, to whom I related the origin of 
the affair. He was much annoyed at their behaviour, 
and mentioned it to the Colonel, who was also so much 
disgusted at it, that, when the performance was over, 
several of the ringleaders found themselves politely 
escorted to the guard-room. 

The next morning they were brought before the Colonel 
soundly rated by him for their conduct, and various terms 
of " kit-drill " were fairly divided amongst them to teach 
them better in future. Henceforth, I was ordered never 
to pay them anything at all, as they were struck off duty 
expressly to play for the amusement of the regiment. I 
followed out the Colonel's instructions to the letter ; their 



'92 8CKAPS F£OM MY SABBETASGHE. 

avaricioasness thus in the end greatly benefiting the funds 
•of the theatre. 

I could here relate many amusing incidents connected 
with theatricals, but will refrain from doing so, lest the 
reader should get surfeited with having too much of 
the subject; I shall, therefore, dismiss that topic, and 
proceed to jot down scraps of personal adventure, amus- 
ing or otherwise, till I can lead him or her on to scenes 
(more in tuiison with the real life of a soldier in India. 



93 



CHAPTER XIV. 

SCRATCH-CBADLE. 

By way of keeping my mind thoroughly occupied, I must 
needs get into a " hank " with a girl of the regiment named 
Annie Holt. 1 knew I was not really in love with her, 
but chose to fancy myself so, or, I suppose, the weak 
points of my nature were flattered up to that pitch by 
the evident partiality she showed for me, on the principle 
that love begets love, even if the begotten love is of 
an inferior quality to that which begets it. 

Thinking this a capital way of forgetting Eose, and 
testing on scientific grounds the advantages to be derived 
from a counter irritant, after preliminary love-makings, in 
the shape of squeezes of the hand, sly glances, whispered 
soft nothings, <&c., at the different places in which I met 
her, I came to the conclusion that I would go to work 
this time in a legitimate manner ; march ofE to her 
mother, tell her the state of the case, and request her 
to allow me to call at the house occasionally, so that 
I might have better opportunities of seeing and making 



94 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

myself agreeable to the daughter under the mother's 
x>wn immediate supervision and with her sanction. 

All this I thought I could do without actually ''popping 
the question " till I saw how things were situated. 

Full of this idea, I crossed over to the patcherie* one 
morning, and knocked at the door, not with a beating 
heart, which was a convincing proof in mj own mind 
that I was not very far gone in love. 

The mother opened the door herself, and without 
expressing the least surprise, after the usual morning 
salutations, she said " Come in, I 've been expecting for 
a long time that you would call. Annie has told me all 
about it." 

Here was a start! I was anticipated; I had been 
expected ! The daughter, like a good girl, had dutifully 
told her mother '' all about it." All the little episodes 
that had passed between us had already been discussed, 
much to my regret and annoyance, thereby depriving 
me of an excellent opportunity of making use of some 
very flowery language I had composed expressly for the 
present occasion. 

I went into the house, under these altered circumstances, 
and managed to tell the old lady that I had seen her 
daughter a good deal latterly, admired her very much, 
xind had reason to believe I was not altogether distasteful 
to her, that I wished she would allow me to visit her 
here, so that I might have a better opportunity of 

* Detached bungalows on both flanks of the r^ment, where 
married people resided ; each married man with his family occupying 
« separate bungalow. 



SOBATCH-CRADLE. 95 

caltivatiDg her acquaintance than I could by casually 
meeting her at parties, and I had too high an opinion of 
her daughter to attempt to meet her by stealth. 

The old lady quite approved of my conduct in coming 
to her first in such an honourable manner, her daughter 
— she didn't mind telling me — was a good girl, and had 
told her she liked me very much, but then, she was 
young, we were both young, and either or both of us 
might alter our minds ; she, herself, had not the ^ilightest 
objection — in fact, she thought it a very good match — 
her daughter would not come empty-handed, but that 
she must first consult her husband, and would I call 
again in the evening at 7, when she would let me 
know the result of her conversation with her husband. 
She was sure he would have no objection — oh dear no ! 
but then it was only proper to speak to him first. " I 
shall not let Annie know anything about it till I hear 
what her father says," continued she, conducting me to 
the door ; " poor girl ! she will be delighted, and — good- 
morning, I shall expect to see you about 7." 

Not a bad beginning, I thought, as I wended my way 
back to my barrack-room. The girl was considered quite 
a catch in the regiment, her father being Orderly-Room 
Clerk, and a Sergeant-Major to boot; the mother was 
known to be a very careful woman, and it was rumoured 
that she was in possession of a pretty long stocking. 
Neither of these things, however, had any influence with 
me, for I was neither ambitious nor mercenary, and, on 
the other hand, I thought myself rather an eligible 
character. I was only a private, to be sure, but then I 



96 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABfiETASCHK. 

could have worn the stripes bad I chosen; but I was- 
better off without them, and had declined them, as 
everyone knew, several times. I was, moreover, young, 
passably good-looking, to say nothing of my various 
accomplishments; in fact, any girl of the regiment 
would have " jumped at me " for a husband. 

Annie, on her side, was young, as her mother had truly 
said, being only fifteen ; she was also very good-looking^ 
and graceful — I think I had better dispense with any 
elaborate description of her personal charms, suffice it to 
say she would pass muster anywhere. The most attractive 
thing about her was her hair, which curled naturally, the 
ringlets appearing to be scampering wildly all over her 
head and chasing each other down her back and shoul- 
ders ; they were of that peculiar hue that one was in 
doubt whether to style them " golden " or " carrots." 
Above all, I had it from her own lips — second-hand, it is 
true — that she liked me. 

I went again to the house in the evening punctually 
at 7, feeling, I admit, slightly sheepish, but that soon 
wore off after the father and mother had given the re- 
quired permission to visit there when I liked, and I 
soon began to feel myself a little more at home. 

Annie, who on my arrival had rushed off to an inner 
room, was now persuaded to put in an appearance, blushing 
as red as her hair, yet looking very pretty and very happy, 
and we all sat down to a very pleasant tea. 

After tea, a married couple entered, with the intention 
of spending the evening there ; then came two young 
girls, companions and bosom-friends of Annie's, and a 



SCBATCH-CEADLE. 97 

yotiDg widow not jet twenty — not the one I proposed to — 
who had recently lost her husband, and very becoming 
and bewitching she looked in her black dress; so that 
there was quite a large party of us, including Annie's 
brother — ^a sort of hobble-de-hoy — whom I omitted to 
mention before. 

The four seniors sat down to a game of whist, and we, 
the youngsters, including the widow, sat down to " hunt 
the slipper," " scratch-cradle," and such scientific games, 
where it was quite the reverse of " whist." 

I cannot let this opportunity pass without saying a 
word or two concerning the interesting game of " scratch- 
cradle." Language fails in the description of it ; it is 
simply delicious when played by those who are " spooney " 
on each other — at least, that is my idea of it. It requires 
such care in taking the string off to prevent its getting 
tangled. And the tact that is necessary to keep it from 
slipping over either of the tiny fingers ! The perpetual 
contact of your fingers with hers, to prevent such a 
catastrophe, or, the catastrophe having occurred, your 
efforts to place the string back again into its proper 
position; these, together with the necessity of both 
leaning over till the two heads come imperceptibly to- 
gether, and your hair gets entangled with hers, in place 
of the string — ^you can't separate till you have carefully 
taken the string off her fingers, which takes some time — 
and you feel in such a glow, and so flurried, that you are 
sure to drop a string, and have to do it all over again, 
with a similar result. I say that scratch-cradle is posi- 
tively a delightful pastime, and would become a favourite 

7 



98 6CBAPS FROM MY SABBETASOHE. 

game with lovers did they but once try it. It is for this 
purpose only that I mention it, that others, if jthej wish 
it, maj have the benefit of mj experience in this delectable 
game. 

After having indulged in these games for some time, 
the joung widow suggested — ^it being a clear moonlight 
night — going out on the grass plat in front of the house 
and playing " Sally Waters," to which everyone, myself 
included, cordially responded, though I had not then the 
■remotest idea of who or what " Sally Waters " was. We, 
therefore, went out, and at once commenced this interesting 
game. 

For the information of those readers who have not 
played it, I will briefly describe it; at the same time 
admitting, that whatever opinion the reader may form of 
it, and however absurd and childish the game may appear, 
there is one point in it that meets with my warmest 
approval — ^I mean the kissing part of the ceremony. 
This is particularly enjoyable, unless the player is of a 
misanthropical turn of mind, when, of course, such enjoy- 
ment is not to be expected. 

One of the players stands in the centre of a ring formed 
by the others joining their hands together. These, then, 
<;ommence a sort of war dance round the one in the centre, 
At the same time chanting — 

SaUy, SaUy Waters, 
Sprinkle in the pan. 

{I haven't the slightest conception of what they are 
supposed to " sprinkle in the pan," or what kind of pan 
it is.) 



SCBATCH-CBADLB. 99 

Arise, Sally Waters, 

And choose a yonng man. 
Choose from the east, 

Choose from the west, 
Choose from the whole of us 

Whom you like best. 

The central player, designated as Sallj Waters, whether 
male or female, then chooses one of the opposite sex ; the 
two kneel facing each other, and the '' war dance " and 
chanting are continued — 

This young couple are married together. 
Father and mother they must obey ; 
Love one another, like sister and brother ; 
This young couple must kiss each other. 

The ceremony of kissing each other having been solem. 
nized, the one who was the first in the centre then quits it 
and joins the ring of " war-dancers," leaving the one he 
or she has just selected to remain in the centre and 
repeat the same performance on some one else, when he 
or she retires in turn from the centre ; this sort of thing 
being repeated till the players are tired of the game. 

I enjoyed this game very much, and was particularly 
fortunate, I being the only male present, with the excep- 
tion of the hobble-de-hoy brother, who was out of modesty 
-generally chosen by his sister, after she had been chosen 
by me ; so that I came in for a full share of kissing, 
hobble-de-hoy never being chosen but by his own sister, 
the other girls and the widow invariably choosing me, 
much to my gratification and appreciation of the game. 

At 10 it was time for us to disperse to our 
respective domiciles, and I now found out, for the first 

7 • 



100 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASOHB. 

time, that Annie went every night to the bungalow of a 
lady who had recently come out from England (and whose 
husband was away superintending some railway works), 
and slept with her, as the lady was rather nervous at 
being left alone in a strange place. I, of course, offered 
to escort Annie to the bungalow ; the widow exclaiming 
she would also go with us. So off the three of us started, 
left Annie at the bungalow, and I came back with the 
widow alone. On our way back I could plainly see that 
she was making a regular set at me ; I, however, pretended 
not to perceive her drift — leaving her, perhaps, under 
the impression that I was rather "slow" and stupid, 
when in reality I was aware of her purpose and simply 
fighting shy of her lures. 

The widow was young and handsome, in fact she might 
safely come under the head of "bewitching," but she 
was, undoubtedly, also, up to a thing or two, and must 
have been a trifle imscrupulous, for she knew how Annie 
and I were situated, and yet she very palpably " set her 
cap " at me. Every evening she found her way to Annie's 
house, proposed " Sally Waters " — to which, all the others 
being agreeable, I could not possibly object — ^and invari- 
ably accompanied Annie and myself to the lady's bunga- 
low ; by this arrangement depriving me of a tete-k-tete 
with Annie, and securing one for herself when I escorted 
her back. In short, being familiar with the flavour of 
her lips, and rather liking it, in " Sally Waters," it came 
natural to me to take more lengthened draughts from them 
than the exigencies of the game actually required ; on our 
road home we had also got into the habit of rehearsing 



SOEATOH-OEADLE. 101 

that particular part of the game, so that it would appear 
as if I came to see the widow instead of Annie, when, 
really, I did not care for the widow — not that I disliked 
the kissing — ^but I kissed her for fear she should think I 
was a fool to throw away, or not avail myself of, such 
luxuries thus put in my way. I could see the danger I 
was in — not of being "hooked" by her, but of being 
eventually found out — such a state of things could not 
continue long without being discovered, and then there 
would be a pretty scene. 

One night the widow chose me for her " young man,** 
in " Sally Waters," and when we knelt down, and the cue 
was given to kiss, she said, " Now, give me a nice one." 
I replied, foolishly, and without giving it a thought, that 
I would give her the sweetest I had, and kissed her, 
taking no more notice of it. It was now my turn to select 
one, and I naturally chose Annie ;. on taking her hand to 
kiss her, she slipped a ring I had given her a few days 
previously into mine. I dropped the ring at once into my 
coat pocket, as if nothing had happened, and retired from 
the centre, joining the rest in the " war dance," but, at 
the same time, I felt uneasy as to why she had returned 
it to me. 

When it came to Annie's turn to quit the centre, she 
slily stole away into the house. A few minutes after, 
watching my opportunity, I followed, and found her in 
tears, and her mother trying to soothe her. I asked her 
why she had given me the ring back, and it then all came 
out: — the widow's nightly propositions for "Sally Waters," 
^her constantly choosing me (I should have thought it 



102 SCRAPS FBOM MT SABBETASCHE. 

strange if she had chosen hobble-de-hoj), and as con- 
stantly accompanying us to the lady's bungalow, and 
coming back with me alone (fortunately she did not know 
of our rehearsals on the road) ; and, to wind up all, the 
widow's asking me to give her a nice one, and my reply. 
This was all told with much sobbing and many tears. 

In defence, I could but say that I came there to see 
Annie only ; that I did not invite the widow, and did not 
want her to come, but I was only a guest myself, and 
could not reasonably tell her she was not wanted ; that 
she did not accompany us at my invitation but her own, but 
that it was not in my power to drive her away ; that if 
she proposed the game, and the rest all appeared agree- 
able, it would be very bearish in me to object ; as to the 
words I made use of when she requested me to give her a 
" nice one," they were said without thought, and I should 
probably have made the same reply to anyone else under 
similar circumstances ; that if she or her mother liked to 
prohibit the widow from coming there, it would give 
great pleasure to me, as I should then be able to enjoy 
more of Annie's society alone. In short, we made friends 
again. But the same scenes constantly occurred; the 
widow still came ; Annie was still jealous, and scarcely 
a night passed that we did not have a squabble, till,, 
finally, a rupture took place and we mutually agreed to 
separate. 

I could not have felt much regret at this, for it did 
not prey very heavily on my mind, but I also could not 
resist the temptation of writing a few lines, and sending 
them the following day to her, to show the effect our 



SCRATCH-CKADLE. 108 

separation had on me. Some idea may be formed of 
the state of mj feelings by a perusal of them, I will 
therefore insert them here ; they run thus : — 

Rejected! cast off! my love coldly slighted ; 

For did not her own lips the cruel words say, 
That have wrecked all my hopes, and my happiness blighted ? 

** I don't love you now, though I did t'other day." 

" I don't love you now ! '* those words were too bitter ; 

I felt the blood rush to my fingers and toes ; 
Oh I where was my spirit, that I didn't hit her 

A " topper for luck '* on the bridge of her nose ! 

Yet I know she once loved me ; have not her lips said it ? 

Has she not told her love by her blushes and sighs ? 
When her eyes have met mine, have I not in them read it ? 

And does not the heart speak its love through the eyes ? 

To that lonely graveyard, by the side of the river, 
1 11 be borne like a mummy, within the dead cart ; 

And people will say 'twas complaint of the liver, 
But she will well know 'twas disease of the heart. 

And women will come, and with tears and with wailing. 
Mourn over the grave where my virtues lie hid, 

And say, " He 'd no fault, he had only a failing ; 
He didn't love wisely, but too well " — so he did ! 

There shall I rest, and nought shall awake me, 
Till the last jolly trumpeter sounds the "fall in," 

When 1 11 rise, and an escort of angels shall take me 
To where there *s no suffering, sorrow, or sin. 

We were shortly afterwards ordered off to Persia, so 
I had no leisure to fret, even if I had the inclination ; 
constant change and excitement effectually prevented my 
giving way to any serious amount of melancholy ; indeed, 
I looked upon the whole affair as an exquisite joke, and 
an agreeable way of having passed my time for the last 
few weeks. 



104 SCRAPS PBOM MT SABBETASOHB. 

It may be as well to state here that I did not see 
Annie again till I came back from the Indian Mutiny, 
nearly four years after ; I then heard she was engaged to 
be married to a corporal of the 6th Inniskillings, and that 
her troiMseau was already prepared. I was at this time 
lance-sergeant, having accepted the stripes when I found 
we were really going into the field, and had risen to 
the rank of lance-sergeant in the ordinary run of promo- 
tion. 

To return to Annie. I met her at a dance one evening, 
and purposely avoided her, but, to my great surprise, 
she crossed over, and shook hands with me, during the 
time we were waiting — both of us being in the one set — ^f or 
the dancing to commence, and, after a few hurried words 
of greeting, asked me to stand up in the next dance 
with her. I could not nicely refuse, so I danced with 
her in the next, and, in fact, in nearly every other dance 
afterwards. That night she told me she still loved me, 
and that she wouldn't marry this corporal. I had great 
di£Giculty to check her ebullitions of love, which, although 
I felt a sort of secret pleasure in, I heartily deplored, as I 
found I had not the slightest tenderness for her now. 

From this eveiiing I avoided her as much as possible, 
but she took every opportunity of meeting me, and even 
writing to me, begging me to be again to her as I was 
before. Hobble-de-hoy, too, who had been with me 
through the campaign, and who had by this time 
grown a great strapping fellow, must needs invest in a 
pistol, for the purpose of polishing me off. His friendly 
intention he darkly hinted to some of the men, who, in 



SCBATCH-CEADLB. 105 

~tam, told it to me. He thought better of it afterwards, 
or found out things were different from what he sus- 
pected, I being blameless, and not wanting to run away 
with his sister. To make short work of it, I was verj 
glad when the regiment went home, taking me with 
it, and leaving her with her friends in India. 

I heard afterwards that her marriage with the cor- 
poral never took place, he — fortunately, perhaps, for his 
peace of mind — " stepping out " with a fever ; she married 
some civilian in Bombay. 



106 80BAPS FBOM MT SABBETASCHE. 



CHAPTER XV. 

OFF TO PEBSIA. — SINGING GIBLS. 

You may say what you like, but the line of march is the- 
place for genuine enjoyment, that is, if you like open-air 
exercise at all, and don't want to sit puking in hot musty 
rooms all your life. Fine, bright, sunny weather, with 
a dash of coolness run through it, just to make the air 
bracing and invigorating ; good roads ; a good horse — 
not a shuffler, but one that can walk out when required; 
and I'll engage that after a march a good breakfast does 
not go begging — nor a " snifter," either, previous to paying 
your devotions to the substantial. 

Somehow or other, I always felt a different man 
altogether when I once got fairly on the road. I was 
really a soldier then — ^threw away all my foppery and 
conceit, and got sunburnt as soon as I possibly could, by 
rambling to my heart's content all day after I had come 
in from the march. Many men prefer a nap after their 
breakfast — indeed, the " nip " they have taken before it 
predisposes to sleep ; but give me a run over the country,. 



OFF TO PERSIA. 107" 

the wilder the better, and if I mtist have a nap, let it be- 
nnder a tree, with the whispering leaves to lull me off to 
sleep. 

Our regiment marched off by troops or squadrons, as 

the case might be, and as fast as vessels could be fitted 

up in Bombay for the reception of the horses, leaving a 

few days' interval between the marching off of each 

detachment. 

I had, shortly before we left for Persia, and after my 
little fracas with Annie, been made a lance-corporal.* As 
I mentioned in the foregoing chapter, I had several times 
been offered that dignity, but declined, principally on 
account of the theatre and other amusements. When the 
order came for us to proceed to Persia, there was an end 
to theatricals at once, and I returned to my duty as a 
matter of course. 

The first guard I mounted, the regimental Sergeant- 
Major ''fell me out," and I was again offered the 
" stripes," but, as usual, I respectfully declined them. 
The Sergeant-Major, who was a kind man, and evidently 
wished to be a friend to me, pointed out the folly of my 
declining rank, and the ultimate benefit that might accrue 
to me by accepting it — that we were now going on a cam- 
paign where promotion might be very rapid — that I was 
a smart man, and ought to aspire to something better than 
the role of a private — with other persuasions of a like 

• For the information of those who do not know the difference 
between lance and full rank, I may here mention that the former is a 
sort of breyet rank; the recipient wearing the stripes, holding the 
Tank, and doing the work, but not getting the pay. 



108 SCRAPS FROM MY SABEETASCHE. 

nature — till I told him I would accept it. The same day 
mj name appeared in regimental orders as lance-corporal, 
to do duty in K troop ; I was relieved off guard, and was 
soon accommodated with gold chevronSy shoulder-knots, 
&c,, the insignia of mj exalted rank. 

I may as well here mention that it was considered a 
great mark of favour to be promoted in the manner I was, 
for everyone aspiring to the rank of lance-corporal had, 
after receiving a hint on the subject, to write an oppZi- 
cation to become one. I was exempted from this opera- 
tion, and was, therefore, the more satisfied with my 
position on account of the omission, as no one could say 
I had asked for rank, or "crawled" to my superiors in 
any manner. 

It soon came to the turn of my troop (the K) to start, 
and off we went as light-hearted as possible. Some of 
the married folk — the women especially — ^pulled very long 
faces, though perhaps the husbands, if the truth were 
told, did not object to a little outing by way of a change. 
If so, they didn't let on about it in presence of their 
better halves, looking as glum and demure as if they 
were going to a funeral, instead of on a campaign; 
but I noticed in a day or two they bore the separation 
like men, and rather cheerful ones too in many cases — 
at any rate, separation, didn't appear to affect their 
appetites. 

The road from Kirkee to Oolwa, whither we were to 
proceed in order to embark the horses in native boats, 
in which they were to be conveyed to the ship, is very 
pleasantly diversified by plain, mountain, valley, and topes 



OFF TO PERSIA. 109 

of mango trees, while here and there were rugged old forts 
in the distance, perched on the top of apparently impreg- 
nable rocks, looking down on the corn-fields and mango 
topes, guarding them and the owners of them who dwelt 
in the little Tillages nestling at their feet. 

In this short march from Kirkee to Oolwa we had an 
adyantage over our previous marches, — we did not require 
tents, which saved much time and trouble ; for, instead 
of having to pitch tents at the end of a day's march, 
we simply picketed our horses and walked into a 
Pendall, and on leaving, vice versa. 

After breakfast I used to issue forth for a ramble ; 
and, so long as I knew I was not required, even when 
on duty as orderly corporal. At the top of the Khandalla 
Ghauts one day, knowing nothing particular was required 
of me till dinner time, I went out for my customary stroll. 
Seeing a fine tope of mango trees a short distance off, I 
sauntered in that direction and sat beneath the luxuriant 
foliage of one of them. Chancing to throw my eyes 
up in the tree, I noticed a very peculiar-shaped bough, 
which, by some freak of nature, interlaced with another, 
and formed a sort of arm-chair. Thinking what a cosy 
place that would be for a nap, I climbed the tree, seated 
myself in this natural arm-chair, and, dreamily watching 
the dancing lights and shadows caused by the sun and 
breeze on the foliage, and listening to the whispered 
rustling of the leaves, I insensibly dropped off to sleep. 

I was awakened by the tinkling of a sitar, and the voice 
of a woman singing an Indian song just beneath me 
xuider the tree. On looking down, I saw two Indian 



110 SOBAPS FBOM MY SABBETASOHB. 

-girls, one of whom was singing to the accompaniment of 
a man who plajed the sitar. Still keeping mj perch in 
the tree, I lazily listened to the singing of the girl, till, 
by chance, knowing the song she was singing, I noticed 
she missed a yerse, and at once betrayed my whereaboats 
by calling her attention to the omission, and, to the 
intense surprise of herself and her companion, singing 
the Terse for her.* 

This put me on good terms with them in a moment, 
and I was soon out of the tree sitting among them, 
chatting and singing with them as if I had known them 
all my life, and was brought up like them to vagabondiz- 
ing about the country and singing for my living. The 
girla were tumblers as weU as singers, and exhibited 
before me, but they were perfectly astonished when they 
found I was equally as well up in that as I was in sing- 
ing, going through a variety of acrobatic performances 
for their delectation, and concluding by strolling round 
in an inverted position, i,e, on my hands. 

Shortly after, seeing by the sun that it was nearly 
dinner time, I took leave of my quondam friends and 
walked back to the Pendall. In a few minutes I was in 



* The reader must not pat this down as gasconading, for then I 
would not torn my back on any Indian singer, in regard either to the 
singing or the nnmber of songs I knew. I am now quite an old man 
■and have forgotten a good many, but I could still manage to sing a 
number of Indian songs, even after this lapse of time. I need not say 
that the learning of these songs involved a good deal of time and 
trouble, and led me into some very queer company ; and sometimes 
into rather awkward adventures — ^my teachers being invariably 
Indians of the softer sex. 



SINGING GIBLS. Ill 

miif omiy had donned mj belt, and was again on dutj, '' all 
there/' serving out the beer to the men and looking 
after their khana. After I had finished and reported 
'''all right" to the sergeant-major, he called me on one 
side, as if he had something particular to tell me, and 
«aid, "Are you the orderly corporal to-day?" I gave 
him to understand that I had the honour of being that 
responsible functionary. **I thought so," replied he, 
•" when I saw you so busily occupied under those trees a 
43hort time ago ; but I never knew till now that it was 
part of the duty of an orderly corporal to do the amiable 
to singing girls, or to walk about on his hands instead 
of his feet; I find, however, that I was mistaken, and 
it is so." 

It seems he had been watching me from the Pendall, 
and, with the aid of his telescope, had seen my per- 
formances in the acrobatic line, and was, I have no doubt, 
much instructed and amused by them. Often, after that, 
if he had occasion to tell me to go anywhere, he would 
say quietly, after the order was given, '' You may go in 
the usual way ; you need not fatigue yourself by walking 
on your hands." 



112 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRBTASCHE. 



CHAPTER XYI. 

MONKEYS. 

We halted for a day at the Khandalla Ghauts, and the 
next morning I took the opportunity for a ramble down 
some of the kudds. I think there are not many places 
with such wild and magnificent scenery as is to be seen 
at the Ghauts. One could stand on the top of these and 
behold the mountains stretching far away into space in 
an infinity of forms, weird-like and grand, as if at the 
creation of the world they had been tumbled out there 
promiscuously. On looking down, one could see the 
Tillage at the foot of the Ghauts, and fancy it was the 
simplest thing in the world to toss a stone into it, when 
in reality it is seven or eight miles distant by the winding 
and picturesque road.* 

• Since I was there — indeed, the work was going on before I left 
India — engineering energy and skill have triumphed over nature, and, 
what with tunnelling, bridging, and blasting, an apparently impossible 
feat has become an established fact, and a railway now trayerses the 
Ghauts; no doubt astonishing my friends the monkeys, and other 
wild denizens of these kudds, and causing them to remove farther from 
the rumble of the train and the shrieks of the engine. 



MONKEYS. 113 

But to return to the kudds. I had gone down a very 
steep one, sometimes at the risk of breaking my neck, 
greatly admiring the scenes that occasionally opened out 
to my view, and the nearer glimpses of grotesque-looking 
rocks, and numberless unknown (to me) flowers and trees, 
that I passed on my way down. On reaching the bottom, 
which seemed as if it was shut out of the world alto- 
gether, it was so awfully silent, I found a spring rippling 
over some rocks and falling into a natural tank or basin, 
which looked to me as if it was expressly designed for a 
bath. Under this impression, and being tired and hot, 
I thought I might just as well freshen myself by treating 
it as one. I, therefore, peeled off, and was soon luxu- 
riating in its cool limpid water ; letting the tiny stream 
from above make a waterfall over my head, and dash 
from thence into the basin in which I was comfortably 
seated, in the same costume in which Adam is supposed 
to have been dressed before Eve discovered the impropriety 
of his appearing in that style before her. 

After indulging in the bath till I considered myself 
sufficiently cooled, I got out, dressed myseK — without the 
aid of either towel, comb, or glass — sat down on the 
edge of the basin, lighted my pipe, and proceeded to 
placidly enjoy a smoke, listening meanwhile delightedly 
to the musical trickle of the water as it fell into the 
basin. 

On all sides of me rose precipitous rocks, with here and 
there a wild flower or stunted tree sticking out of their 
very faces, though how a seed could ever find its way to 
such a place — how flowers and trees could find root-hold^ 

8 



114 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHB. 

to say notliing of the moisture requisite to cause 
them to grow — but there they were, and growing as 
freely as if they were carefully tended and watered every 
morning. 

While revolving this phenomenon over in my mind, I 
was all at once roused from my reverie by an unearthly 
sort of " cackle " — for I can describe it by no other 
word — and on looking up to where the sound proceeded 
from, there was an old " jocko " high up on the face of 
one of the rocks, making faces at me and indulging 
in his "cackle" — in surprise, I suppose, at seeing me 
there. 

After watching him for a few minutes, I picked up 
a stone and threw it at him. This had an lindesired 
effect. Little did J dream of the result, or I would not 
have thrown that stone. The enraged jocko made a 
peculiar noise, and in a moment the faces of the rocks in 
every direction were swarming alive with monkeys. Where 
they could all spring from so rapidly passed my com- 
prehension altogether. The first monkey seemed to 
explain something to them, when all of them immediately 
commenced gesticulating violently, gibbering, cackling, 
making the most hideous grimaces at me, and pelting me 
— or rather throwing bits of rock or stones at me, 
fortunately without hitting me. I began to feel uneasy ; 
there were enough of them to eat twenty men, with their 
clothes to boot, so that I should have been but a 
mouthful apiece, had they attacked me — ^and, by their 
threatening manner, it appeared as if they intended 
to do so. 



MONKEYS. 115 

Dim visions of being made a meal of by monkeys, 
^and of my carefully picked bones lying in this horrible 
kudd for years, passed across my mind. When I was 
missed I should have the credit of having been eaten by 
tigers — they would never think of monkeys eating me. 
Would they search for me when I was missed at the 
Pendall — if they did, would they find me ? The monkeys 
wouldn't eat my chuckmuck and pipe, I should be recog- 
nized by them. In fact, the near prospect of being 
" skoffed " by the infuriated monkeys was sufficiently 
alarming. Here was a pretty finish to all my capers! 
What a nice thing to put on my tombstone — if ever I had 
one — " Eaten by monkeys ! " 

I was getting afraid — ^in fact, there is no use in mincing 
the matter — I was most decidedly afraid, and would 
have turned tail and run away if I could, but the infernal 
place was so steep, I should have all my work to do to 
get out of it at any time, without having an army of 
chattering monkeys at my heels. It ran through my 
mind, too, that if I once turned my back and fairly fled 
it would only encourage them ; I should have the whole 
boiling of them on the top of me in no time. I mvst get 
away, however, that was evident ; so I slowly retired, in 
great trepidation at the necessity of proceeding so slowly, 
showing a front as much and as often as the nature of 
the ground I had to pass would allow ; but it seemed an 
awful long journey to the top of the kudd. I reached 
it at last ; followed to the very top by the whole of the 
monkeys — who must have numbered thousands, and who 
mouthed, chattered, grinned, threatened, and pelted me 

8 ♦ 



116 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASOHE. 

the whole way. I was very thankful when I once more- 
put my foot out of their realm, and considered myself 
safe. I did not go down that kudd again, and I inwardly 
resolved never to pelt a solitary monkey, if I saw one,, 
no matter where he was. 

Lest the reader should imagine this monkey adventure 
a little over- strained, I need but mention that among: 
Hindoos, in all parts of India, monkeys are held in great 
veneration, many temples being dedicated to Hanuman,. 
the Monkey God, who figures largely in Hindoo mytho- 
logy. I remember reading once that this worthy, whO' 
was a great warrior, sent out 350,000,000 of monkey 
generals to reconnoitre ; and I thought at the time, if so- 
many generals went out to reconnoitre only, how many 
monkey generals and soldiers must there have been when/ 
it came to actual fighting. Monkey temples, therefore,, 
often contain numbers of real monkeys, as well as the 
eflBgy of Hanuman. Pugger Tank, the only one I can call 
to mind by name, having some thousands, I should think,, 
running abont the premises, and fed by the establishment. 

There are many temples, also, where such "cattle" as. 
lice, fleas, <&c. are fed and housed very comfortably by 
the priests, who take great care that they are properly 
looked after in regard to their diet. For instance, in 
the rooms where these vermin are kept, is a great quantity 
of clothing and bedding which literally swarm with them. 
At feeding- time, which is at night, a number of beggars 
are turned into the rooms, their own clothes having pre- 
viously been taken away from them ; they are required to 
don some of the clothing belonging to the temple, con-- 



MONKEYS. 117 

taining the vermin, or sleep, if they can, on the beds 
provided for them, while the vermin browze off them (the 
beggars) to their hearts' content. In the morning the 
beggars receive a few pice as remuneration for their 
night's rest (?). Their clothes are restored to them, and 
they are allowed to depart, leaving the vermin no doubt 
'greatly refreshed with their feed, and looking forward to 
night again, when another relay of beggars will be found 
to replace those who left in the morning ; thus insuring 
the vermin a change in their diet, as they never feed off 
the same joints two nights consecutively. But I am di- 
gressing, perhaps, led to it by the affinity between monkeys 
und vermin ; they (the monkeys) enjoying nothing better 
than a battue on a brother monkev's head to search for 
and kill the same creatures that their human brethren 
philanthropically endeavour to preserve and fatten, 

I must not omit to mention that while on this march 
I also climbed up to the Elarlee caves, and was amply 
rewarded for my labour in the magnificent view which 
greeted my eyes on attaining the summit of the rock 
in whose bosom the cave is situated. I was much im- 
pressed with its grandeur, and the immense amount of 
time and labour that must have been spent in its excava- 
tion, and in the grotesque carving with which the cave is 
ornamented. It has been too often described by tourists 
and others better qualified than myself to explain its 
various beauties to need a feebler repetition of them at 
my hands, I shall, therefore, refrain from inflicting a 
description of my own on the reader, and content myself 
•ovith remarking that the place is well worthy a visit. 



118 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

On this rock, too, I saw a very peculiar sort of tree,, 
the leares of which are of a beautiful mauve colour,, 
transparent, like stained glass ; while the blossoms, also 
transparent, were a brilliant green. I am not much of a 
botanist in regard to a knowledge of the scientific names 
of flowers, plants, or trees, but I have a keen apprecia- 
tion of their beauty, and I could not enough admire 
such a singular and beautiful tree ; it put me in mind of 
the trees one reads of in fairy tales. It is the only tree 
of the kind I have ever seen, and could it be transported 
to England would cause somewhat of a sensation among 
those who make botany their study. It is a pity some 
effort is not made to propagate the tree by cuttings or 
seed, if it has any, and I trust my casual remarks may 
induce some lover of the beautiful in nature to at least 
make the attempt to do so. 

At Oolwa the horses were put into native boats, each 
boat having its complement of gliora- wallahs to look after 
the horses, and one dragoon to look after ghora- wallahs ;. 
the remainder of the men and the camp-followers embarked 
in the Governor's yacht, the name of which I forget. As we 
slowly steamed away, there arose from the little landing- 
place such a plaintive wail from the poor Indian women 
who crowded there to get a last look at their husbands, 
fathers, brothers, or lovers (I mean English lovers), that 
I felt quite sad for the poor creatures, more so than I had 
recently felt when leaving our own women at Kirkee, and 
I was thankful that I had left no one to wail for me 
among the crowd, or I might have felt sadder still. Even 
when out of ear-shot of their cries, we could see thenk 



MONKEYS. 119 

wringing their hands and gesticulating for a long time, 
and I was glad when distance and the increasing gloom 
shnt them out from our sight. 

The next morning we reached Bombay, and went on 
board the good ship " Tornado," the vessel " told off " to 
take my troop to Persia. In a few hours the horses were 
all safely shipped, stowed away in their stalls below ; and 
off we started, with a fair breeze, for Persia. 



120 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASCHB. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

ON BOARD SHIP. 

Not being mucli of a politician, I had not the remotest 
idea of the origin of the Persian war, nor, I must con- 
fess, have I up to the present time. Nor did I care either ; 
it was sufficient for me — and the rest of us, so far as 
that goes — that there tuas to be war, and that we were 
ordered to Persia to participate in it, which was satis- 
factory for all parties, blind obedience being one of the 
^rst qualities of a good soldier. 

Now I always endeavour to make myself at home where- 
ever I go — as was the case with the singing girls ; and in 
this particular instance, having landed on board ship, as 
Pat would say, I was at once eminently nautical. I went 
to my pack and drew out a seafaring rig I had previously 
prepared, which I donned in a brace of shakes, substitu- 
ting a rakish-looking wide-awake for my shako, a striped 
shirt well open in the neck and displaying a reasonable 
amount of breast for my full-dress coat, a black necker- 
chief loosely tied with a slip-knot, and the two ends flying 



ON BOARD SHIP. 121 

ioose for my stock, a pair of white ducks, tight from the 
waist to my knees, and from thence gradually widening 
to the bottom, where they were as wide as pyjamas, for 
my overalls ; as for a substitute for boots and spurs, I 
scorned a covering of any kind for my feet, and went 
barefoot. A clasp-knife suspended by a string from my 
neck, and stuck in the waist of my ducks, supplied the 
place of my sword and completed my outfit. 

In this costume I considered myself pretty well " got 
up " as a tar, and that I was complete in everything, 
except a knowledge of sailor's work. This, however, 
caused me no concern ; and I very soon set to work to 
rectify that by learning the names of the ropes, sails, <&c., 
and I made no scruple in going up aloft to help reef or 
stow sails when it came on to blow. Whether I was ever 
-of any assistance at such times was best known to the 
sailors, but on after-consideration I am inclined to the 
mortifying belief that I was no great help, but rather in 
the way occasionally ; I did not, however, perceive this at 
the time. 

But to proceed. I had scarcely rigged myself out and 
stowed my regimentals away when the trumpet sounded 
for the guard. I stood aghast at the sound. Here was 
a devil of a start ! I was orderly corporal, and it was 
my duty to parade the men, inspect them, and report to 
the sergeant-major previous to his and the captain's 
inspection. But what a costume I was in to inspect the 
guard, who were in " full uniform." It was no earthly 
use asking one of the other corporals to do it for me, as 
they were all in a similar predicament to myseK, they 



122 SCRAPS PROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

having already mounted slop clothing, but having the 
advantage of me in wearing shoes. 

Seeing I had no alternative I determined to " cheek it" 
out ; so I put on a bold face, and gracefully standing 
with one hand on my hip, in approved nautical fashion, 
I roared out, " Fall in the guard ! " and stood, barefoot 
as I was, ready to parade them. The men assembled, 
looking rather surprised at me and my costume ; and the 
vision of the captain standing on the poop with his glass 
stuck in his eye, staring very intently at me, as if I was 
some queer description of animal he had never seen before, 
alone deterred them from bursting into a roar of laughter. 
I need not say that I was very far from laughing at the 
time, but I determined to carry it off in the best manner 
I could, so I bawled out the words of command, as if, 
instead of being barefoot, I was in full drees and on 
a general parade. 

" Ten shun ! 

* * Eyes right ! 

" Dress ! " (I wished I had been properly dressed at 
the time.) 

" Up a little on the left ! " 

« Steady ! " 

" Eyes /row^ .^ " 

" Port arms ! " 

" As you were ! " (I *d have given a trifle to have been 
as I was previous to putting on this infernal rig.) 

" Together ; port arms ! " 

" Half-cock arms ! " 

Having given these necessary words of command, I 



ON BOARD SHIP. 123 

commenced making a careful survey of tlie men, slowly 
walking down the rank, looking them up and down — 
while they as intently stared at the front busily occupied 
in looking at nothing — taking a bird's eye view down the 
nipples of the carbines, to see if they were properly 
cleaned, straightening a belt, <fec. When I arrived at the 
bottom of the line, I gave the words, " Ease springs ! 
Advance arms!" and then inspected them minutely in 
the rear. This being done, I bawled out, "Stand at 
ease ! " and, the sergeant-major having in the meantime 
put in an appearance, I went up to him with the greatest 
nonchalance, as if I was doing the thing in the proper 
regimental style, and reported " All right." 

I could see a merry twinkle in the sergeant-major's eye 
as I approached him. But, the captain being on the 
poop at the time, he was compelled for his own sake to 
notice such an absurd breach of discipline as a barefooted 
corporal inspecting a guard in full-dress. "All right, 
except you, I suppose you mean," cried he, addressing 
me sternly. " What do you mean by such a masquerading 
costume as that ? Consider yourself under arrest." On 
this, of course, I did consider myself in that unpleasant 
position, and immediately hid my diminished head by 
dropping into the back-ground. 

Shortly after I was " had up " in front of the captain,, 
who, after closely scrutinising^ me and my " get up " 
through his eye-glass, demanded to know what I meant 
by such conduct. I excused myself on the plea that I had 
entirely forgotten that I was orderly corporal, or rather 
that I did not think that on board ship the guard would 



124 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBBTASCHB. 

mount as tliej did on shore, and had changed mj 
costume, as I thought, to suit the place I was now 
in, and the sort of work I might have to assist in 
doing. 

The captain, merely remarking that he had no objection 
to the sort of clothes I wore on board ship — ^here I 
detected his eye-glass unconsciously straying to my feet 
— but that I ought to have waited till I was off duty, 
released me. The men afterwards mounted guard in 
slops, indeed, constantly wore them; but I, unless on 
•duty, always stuck to my nautical costume. 



125 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

INCIDENTS AT SEA. 

I DO not know a cooler or pleasanter place in a ship, when 
at sea in the tropics, than the fore-top. You are, as it 
were, like Mahomet's coffin, between heayen and earth 
— or, rather, the deck of the ship — with the breeze, if 
there is one, all around you, wafted towards you in its 
proper course, bounding down on to you from the bellying 
fore-topsail, coming up to you through the battens on 
which you lie. With your head pillowed on the slack of 
the fore-topmast staysail, you may sleep as serenely and 
coolly as if angels made it their business to exercise 
their wings for your express behoof. Even if there is 
no breeze at all, the flapping of the sail against the mast 
answers all the purposes of an immense fan, and soon 
sends you into the regions of oblivion. 

I used to spend most of my leisure time up there — and 
I had a reasonable amount of that, for soldiers are not 
overworked on board ship — and pass the hours very 
pleasantly, either in a game of chess with a comrade — 
and we bad some great chess-players in the regiment — 



126 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

reading a book, or dreamilj staring up through the maze 
of ropes and sails, into the bright blue skj, till somno- 
lencj, in it sweetest and most seductive form, insensibly 
stole over me. Yes ; the fore-top of a ship is the place, 
par excellence, for either dreamers when awake or sleepers ' 
whether dreaming or otherwise. 

I was once reported absent from a parade, and much 
uneasiness was felt lest I had mjsteriouslj fallen over- 
l^oard, till one of the men, knowing my proclivities, 
suggested the fore-top, where 1 was discovered, fastly 
locked in the arms of the drowsy god, to the great relief 
•of my comrades. 

Another favourite place of mine was the extreme end of 
the bowsprit. On a breezy, sunny day, with a good sea 
on, it was delicious to stand or sit there, and, according 
to the motion of the vessel, be one moment lifted high 
up into the air, the next plunged down again as the 
good ship dipped her nose into the briny, — as if she 
intended diving under it altogether, — shook herself, and 
again bounded on. 

I remember once being there when the stentorian voice 
of the boatswain hailed me with, " Come in out of that ; 
do you want to make us have to stop to pick you up ? " I 
came in as desired ; but, my pride being touched by an 
allusion the boatswain made to '' land-lubbers " and 
"horsemen," what should they know about ships? I 
challenged him, and offered to bet my porter against his 
grog, that, " land-lubber and horseman " as I was, I could 
do on the bowsprit what he couldn't. The bet was 
accepted at once ; I immediately went out to my old 



INCIDENTS AT SEA. 127 

position, and, supporting myself with one hand by the 
" royal stay," and with the other by the end of the bow- 
sprit, stood on my head, and, while in that position, 
makinfs^ an excellent figure-head of myself, calling on 
him to come out and do the same, if he could. I need 
not say he did not come ; the laugh was turned against 
him for being beaten by a land-lubber, and he owned I 
had fairly won his grog. He never called me in again, 
nor a land-lubber either. 

As I did not at the commencement of this history inflict 
on my readers a diary of the " passage out," I may be 
pardoned for narrating an incident here, which occurred 
during that period. About 8 o'clock one evening we 
were spanking along with a fair breeze, at the rate of 
eight or nine knots an hour ; at the same time many of 
the men and women were also " spanking along " through 
the mazes of country dance, to the inspiriting strains of a 
fiddle, fife, and tambourine, when all hands were startled 
by the cry " A man overboard !" This cry did not proceed 
from anyone on board, but from some one in the sea at 
the stern of the ship. 

There was something awful in this, and some of the 
women fainted. In a moment all was confusion. " Who 
could it be?" "How did he get there?" No one on 
board had seen or heard anyone fall in, yet there was 
the cry from the water. Another faint cry, apparently a 
long distance astern, came borne on the breeze to our 
horror-struck ears. It was too dark to see anything, but 
the captain promptly ordered silence, hove the ship to, 
threw out life-buoys, and had a boat lowered, which 



128 SCIiAPS FEOM MY SABBETASCHE. 

proceeded in search of the man. We were in a dreadful 
state of anxiety to know who the man was, though there 
was not much hope of the unfortunate wretch being saved,, 
whoever he might be ; for there was a heavy sea running, 
the night was intensely dark, and he must by this time^ 
have drifted a long way astern. 

This suspense lasted for half an hour, which to us 
seemed an age, till at last we heard a welcome shout from 
the distance which informed us it was " all right ! ** 
After what appeared a tremendous long time, the boat 
came alongside, and the man stepped on board as naked 
as he was bom, and to all appearance perfectly uncon- 
cerned at the narrow escape he had just had. He was- 
found by the crew of the boat sent to search for him 
clinging to one of the buoys, and had given up all hopa 
of being rescued from his perilous position. A cloak 
was thrown over him to spare the blushes of the ladies, 
and he was taken below by the doctor ; a dram of grog 
was prescribed and taken, and in a short time the man 
presented himself on deck as if nothing had happened. 

On inquiry, it was elicited from him, that, seeing all 
hands enjoying themselves at dancing, he thought that 
would be a capital opportunity for a bath ; he, therefore, 
went down the fore-chains, stripped himself, and, after 
making fast a rope to one of the chains, he lowered 
himself into the sea. He contented himself for a short 
time by holding on to the rope with one hand and swim- 
ming with the other ; at length, knowing himself to be 
a good swimmer, he thought he could safely let go the 
rope, swim by the side of it, and resume it again when he 



INCIDENTS AT SEA. 129 

felt tired. He, accordingly, let go his hold, hut had 
scarcely done so when he found himself rapidly drifting 
astern, and in a moment was in the wake of the ship, 
from whence he had raised the cry, " A man overboard t " 
which had put so abrupt a stop to our dancing, and 
alarmed us so much. 

Another curious incident took place on the same vesiel, 
but of a more laughable kind. One of the men, an 
Irishman, had fallen backwards from the deck into the 
lower hold ; we naturally expected, from the distance he 
had fallen, to discover that he had broken some of his 
limbs, if not his neck. What was our surprise to see 
him briskly jump up, shake himself, and, instead of 
ascertaining whether he was hurt or not, as we had 
anticipated, hastily clap his hand on his pocket and 
exclaim ruefully, "Be jabers! if me dudheen isn't all 
into smithereens ! " His pipe being the most important 
consideration to him from the fact of its being '* beautifully 
coloured," i.e. beastly black. 

One of our recruits on the passage out to the regiment 
had a narrow escape from death, under such singular 
circumstances that I will briefly relate it, though it does 
not properly belong to this narrative. This lad and 
another had a bit of a fall out, and determined to settle 
it in the orthodox manner, that is, have '* three rounds ** 
and done with it. They at once peeled off and commenced 
operations, when the steamer giving a lurch — there being 
a good deal of sea on at the time — one of the combatants 
rolled over to leeward into the sea. Every effort was 
immediately made to save him, but by the time the boat 

9 



180 SCRAPS FBOK MT SABBETASCHE. 

was lowered he was some distance off, and could only 
occasionally be seen, owing to the heavy sea, and it was a 
long time before the boat succeeded in reaching him. 
Fortunately he was an excellent swimmer, or he never 
could have been saved; for, independent of the risk he 
ran of drowning, he had to defend himself from the 
attacks of a huge albatross which kept swooping down 
at him ; so that the poor devil had all his work to do to 
keep afloat and intact at the same time. I have often 
heard him describe the adventure, and the dread he felt 
lest the bird should scalp him or tear his eyes out before 
help could reach him,, for on each attack of the bird he 
could see his eyes evidently gloating over his anticipated 
prey. The bird missed a dinner, however, on that occa- 
sion. After a good deal of hard pulling, the boat managed 
to reach the lad, and brought him safely on board, none 
the worse for his dip and his fight with the albatross. 
It is but right to state that the combatants, from that 
day to this, never finished the orthodox '* three rounds." 

As I am now in ** full swing " relating board-of-ship 
anecdotes, and as I am not going to write a description 
of my voyage home, I will, with the reader's permission, 
introduce another incident, of an awful nature, which 
occurred on our way to England. 

One of the men of my troop had been washing his 
clothes privately, it not being ^ washing day," and was 
hanging them out to dry on the bowsprit stays. We 
were going through the water at the rate of seven or 
eight knots an hour; the wind being fair aft the jibs 
could not fill, and consequently kept flapping to and fro. 



INCIDENTS AT SEA. 131 

The man was sitting or stooping on the stays, tying his 
iilothes to them, when one of the ropes belonging to a jib 
or a block — ^it was not perceived which — ^knocked him 
into the sea. A boat was lowered at once, and life-buoys 
thrown out. The captain hove the ship to, and called out 
for one of the soldiers to run up to the mizen-top— the 
49ailors being busied in lowering the boat and attending 
to the necessary work required in heaving the vessel to— 
to see where the man was. I instantly ran up, but was 
scarcely there when I heard such an awful scream that 
it made my very blood run cold, and the sound of which 
I did not forget for a long time. 

I anxiously looked astern for some sign of the poor 
fellow, and perceived his cap at some distance off. I called 
out to the men in the boat, and they rowed in the direc- 
tion of the cap, which they picked up, but no body was 
to be seen, though the men asserted that the water was 
tinged with blood. The man, when he gave that appal- 
ling scream, must have been seized by a shark and devoured 
in a moment ; for on the boat's reaching the ship's side — 
after rowing for some time in the neighbourhood of the 
cap, in the vain hope of yet seeing him — an immense 
shark actually tried to jump into the boat to get at the 
men, which frightened them so much that they nastily 
clambered up the side of the ship for fear he should 
succeed in his daring attempt, 

A hook was immediately baited with a large piece of 
salt pork, which the voracious monster swallowed almost 
as soon as it was lowered down into the water, and he 
was at once hooked. IJnf ortimately, on pulling the brute 

9 • 



132 SCRAPS FROM MY SABEETASOHB. 

up the ship's side, and when we fancied we had safely 
got him, the hook broke, and the shark escaped, so that 
we lost the only opportunity of knowing if he had really 
devoured our unfortunate comrade, or not ; we, however, 
gave him the credit of it, and to judge by his size — for 
I should think he was fifteen or sixteen feet in length — 
he could easily have devoured one man, and, by his 
voracity in trying to get at the other men, he could 
readily have found room for one or two more in his 
capacious maw. 

This incident cast a gloom over all on board, more 
especially those of his own troop, who knew that he had 
been saving his money for years, with the intention of 
buying his discharge, taking a small farm, and support- 
ing his widowed mother. How true is the French 
saying Homme propose, Bieu dispose. Who would have 
thought that all his hopes of home would be thus cruelly 
and abruptly terminated P I often used to wonder what 
the feelings of his poor mother must have been when 
she heard the sad news of his awful death. 

I have seen death in all its forms, and have myself 
killed, in various ways, more than I can at the present 
time count ; but I never felt so deeply impressed in my 
life as I did at the death of my troop-mate, poor Bill 
Trueman ; and even now, whenever I think of it, I feel 
strongly tempted to breathe the prayer of an Irish Catholic 
that I know, and say with him devoutly, ^' God keep us 
from a sudden and improvided death." 



138 



CHAPTER XIX. 



" JUGGLER." 



^BITING the previous chapter has given me a slight touch 
of the blues, so, to dissipate them, I think I '11 change 
the subject for something of a more enlivening nature. 
J '11 therefore retrace my steps — on pax)er — to where I 
ought not to have strayed from — to the gallant vessel 
(though why they should call a vessel gallant I never 
coiQd conceive) bearing us to Persia. 

The poor horses must have had a sweltering time of it 
below — they were literally stewing during the whole 
passage ; for they occupied the lower deck, and a hundred 
or so of horses in the 'tween decks of a ship would 
make the place feel warm in the coolest of weather, so 
what must it have been in warm weather in the tropics ! 
They were almost constantly steaming with perspiration, 
•and must have felt the heat very much. 

Their stalls — I was nearly writing cabins — ^were fitted 
up with every regard to their comfort, and padded care- 
iully to prevent them from getting chafed or bruised by 



134 SOBAPS FBOM MT SABBETASOHE. 

the motion of the vessel. Nets, filled with hay, were 
hung before each of them, so that they coold nibble 
away at pleasure. They were regularly cleaned, fed, and 
watered every day, the same as on shore ; and would, 
therefore, have been very comfortable were it not for the 
intense heat. As for us, we took the decks for it, day or 
night, and the camp-followers stowed themselves where- 
ever they could find an empty spot to lie down in, or a 
hole to crawl into. 

We certainly had the advantage of the horses in one 
respect, for if there was a breeze ''knocking about '^ 
we got the benefit of it ; we could lie down too, packed 
very close, it is true, and pretty moist of a morning when 
we woke up, from the heavy dews that fell during the 
night ; generally having to wring out our clothes and 
bedding, and dry them in the sim preparatory to another 
saturation at night. Fortunately there was no rain, or 
we should have been in a pretty plight. This was our 
case; the horses, though housed properly, were stewed 
and condemned to a standing position for the voyage, 
much as some of them might have wished to lie down. 

Several of the horses succumbed to the extreme heat 
below ; these were dragged to the hatchway, hoisted up 
on deck, and tossed overboard. One felt a pang at seeing 
a noble animal surrounded in a moment by a swarm of 
sharks, who would be seen tearing the poor trooper to 
pieces, and fighting amongst themselves for the last 
piece, till he was devoured. After finishing their ban- 
quet the sharks would follow the ship hungrily, waiting 
for another windfall of the like description — they, pro- 



" JUGGLER." 136 

l)abl7, not being able to get horse for dinner every day 
of their lives. 

One morning a horse was brought to the main hatchway 
in a dying state, as well to enable the poor beast to 
get a breath of fresh air from the windsail, as to enable 
the farrier to see what was the matter with him, and to 
administer any remedy he might consider beneficial. I 
happened to be standing by at the time, as were also 
some of the ship's crew, who used to like to go below and 
look at the horses, much in the same manner as we should 
look at the wild beasts in a menagerie ; for they did not 
often have an opportunity of seeing horses, never having 
occasion to use them on board ship, and horses not being 
much in their line, so that the sight of a cargo of 
dragoons with their horses was quite a novelty to 
them. 

While standing thus, in a group round the hatchway, 
I could hear the sailors wondering among themselves 
what was the matter with the horse in question. At 
length, one of them, edging up to me, commenced 
making inquiries on the subject, the remainder of them 
preparing themselves to listen to the dialogue, which 
began thus : 

** I say, shipmate, what 's the matter with that 'ere 
horse ? " 

"Why, the farrier says he is in a consumption," 1 
replied. 

Here was a queer start ! A horse in a consumption ! 
The sailors looked surprised and solemn at the announce- 
ment, while the spokesman continued : 



186 SOBAPS FBOM HY SABBBTASOHE. 

'^ A consumption ! What, do you mean to say that 
hones get the consumption the same as us " (meaning 
knman beings) ? 

" Of course they do," I replied ; " why shouldn't they? 
They are flesh and blood the same as we are, ain't they ? 
They get the same diseases too, and are treated in the 
same manner as we are." 

This was an unanswerable argument. 

" But," inquired he, " how do you know when they are 
ill, and what 's the matter with 'em ? " 

" One way is by feeling their pulse, another " 

'' Belay a minute, shipmate," exclaimed the spokesman, 
interrupting me, '' till I oyerhaul the first part. Where 
is their pulse P " 

" Why, in the off hind-leg, of course," replied I, with 
profound gravity. 

Nothing would do but that I must give them a prac- 
tical illustration, and show them how to feel a horse's 
pulse ; so I placed two fingers just above the hock of the 
dying animal, and shaking my head, gravely remarked, 
*<that his pulse was very feeble, and that he couldn't 
possibly hold out much longer." 

The sailors all looked very serious at this announce- 
ment, which they received as if they were standing round 
the death-bed of a friend. I continued : 

'' There are many ways of finding out when a horse i 
ill, without his actually mentioning it himself " (here t) 
men began to open their eyes and mouths a bit) ; " thou 
it is much better if the horse does so, for he can descr 
the symptoms, and the veterinary surgeon has gr& 



(( 



JUGGLBB." 137 



•confidence in prescribing for the case than if he were left 
to his own resources in finding them out." 

" .Why, you speak as if the horses could talk, with your 
^ mentioning ' and * describe the symptoms,' " exclaimed 
one of the men, while the rest all stood aghast at the 
idea of such an unheard-of thing as a horse talking. 

" So they can, and do," I replied, " though there are 
not many persons who understand them; but all veterinary 
surgeons — ^unfortunately, there are none on board — must 
have a certificate of proficiency in the language of horses. 
I know a few words myself, and if you come with me I 'U 
soon prove to you that horses can not only talk, but that 
they have got plenty to say for themselves too." 

Saying this, I led the way to the stall where my own 
horse stood, the sailors closely following in my wake, 
•anxious to witness a conversation between a man and a 
horse. My horse was busily employed in munching his 
hay when I came up, so I opened the conversation as 
follows : 

"Well, Juggler, how are you getting on this 
morning ? " 

'' Ha ! ha ! ha ! a-a-a-a-a," replied the horse. 

" The deuce you are ! " I exclaimed, as if he told me he 
was unwell, " you seemed to be enjoying your hay well 
enough when I came up." 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! a-a-a-a-a-a-a ! " 

"Yes, it is pretty hot down here," I replied (inter- 
preting his neigh as if he had complained of the heat) ; 
**• but in a few days we shall reach Persia, and then it 
ynUl all be over." 



138 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASGHE. 

''Ha! ha! ha! ha! a-a-a-a-a!" 

" Why, you see, it would be rather awkward to shift yoir 
now" — as if he had applied to be placed nearer the 
hatchway for the sake of the air — " and the other horses 
would think it unfair," I replied. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! a-a-a-a-a-a ! " 

'' Yes, you must ' grin and bear it,' " I exclaimed, as if 
he had remarked he supposed he would have to put 
up with it. 

"Ha! ha! ha! a-a-a-a-a!" 

'' Oh ! these are some of the crew who wished to hear 
you and I have a chat, as they would not believe horses 
could talk" ; as if he had inquired, ''What are all these 
fellows doing here ? " 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! a-a-a-a-a-a ! " 

" No, no, I can't tell them that, it wouldn't be polite,, 
you know " ; as if he had requested me to tell them they 
were confounded fools, and knew nothing whatever about 
horses. 

I continued this farce for some time longer, asking^ 
and answering all sorts of questions (translating the 
neighs of the horse to suit my own purpose), to the 
astonishment of the sailors, who tried to make the horse 
speak to them as he had to me, but the horse refused ta 
hold any communication with them whatever. 

These men told others of the crew about the conver* 
sational powers of horses in general — ^my horse in 
particular — and I often had a similar kind of chat 
with him for their edification and wonderment. The 
readiness of the horse to talk to me, and to me only^ 



"jugglbb/* 139 

may be easily explained. I had a habit, every time I 
went to the '* lines," of carrying a few cakes, or a piece 
of bread in my pocket ; this I used to dole out to him 
piece by piece, talking to him as mothers do to children, 
or as dragoons will talk to their horses — he would natu- 
rally, every time I opened my mouth, whinny or neigh 
for more, till in the course of time he would do so each 
time I spoke, whether I gave him anything or not — 
hence the deception so easily practised on the unsus- 
picious sailors. The particulars oozed out soon after,, 
and the sailors looked somewhat sheepish when they 
found they had been sold so readily ; and if any of them 
were at any time " drawing the long bow " in spinnings 
a yam, they were often " brought to " by the proposal^ 
''Let's go down below and have a chat with the 
horses ! " 

Poor Juggler afterwards received a shot in the chest,, 
and fell in one of the charges at the battle of the* 
Betwa! 



140 SCRAPS F£OM MY SABUETASOHE. 



CHAPTER XX. 

SDNDAT MORNING. 

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great 
waters ; 

These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. 

For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up 
the waves thereof. 

They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths : 
their soul is melted because of trouble. 

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at 
their wit's end. 

Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them 
out of their distresses. 

He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are stilL 

Then are they glad because they be quiet ; so he bringeth them 
unto their desired haven. 

Never had I felt the full force and beauty of the 
Psalmist's words so much as I did on this Sunday morning. 
As the captain of my troop slowly and impressively 
read these beautiful verses, I felt that the writer of them 
must indeed have been inspired, or how could he have 
expressed himself in such exquisite yet appropriate 
language, which would lead one to imagine he was 



SUNDAY MORNING. 141 

familiar with storms at sea and the incidents of a sea- 
faring life, when it is probable he was never on board a 
^vessel in his life P I think many of the men felt as I did 
on that morning, as we stood there bare-headed, reverently 
listening to and, I trust, joining in " Divine Service." 

We had, in the earlier part of the morning, been caught 
in a cyclone, which seemed to me to have blown from all 
sides at once. We had been whirled about on the waves 
as if a mighty ship was but a mere plaything to the 
mightier wind. We had literally experienced all that the 
Psalmist had so graphically described; consequently, 
having so recently seen **His wonders in the deep," 
we coiQd the better appreciate the truthfulness of the 
language ,- and we, I trust, all felt an emotion of grati- 
tude and thankfulness to Him who had '^ made the storm 
a calm." 

The service proceeded ; the voice of the captain alone 
being heard in the ship, as she noiselessly ploughed her 
way over the billows. 

How the snowy crests of the blue waves gleamed and 
glistened in the bright rays of the morning sun as they 
danced merrily along, as if they were chasing each, other 
in the joyousness of uncontrolled freedom ! What a 
glorious church was ours ! On all sides there was blue 
and white and gold. Above us the blue sky, with ** the 
glory in the centre," for our roof ; beneath us and around 
us the blue water, its white-crested waves as they succes- 
sively curled over breaking into myriads of flakes of foam 
which, goldened and rainbow-tinted by the glowing rays 
of the sun, looked like jewels, forming a brilliant moving 



142 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASOHE. 

flooring of beautiful mosaic work ; the boundless horizon 
being the walls of the edifice. Truly a worthy church m 
which to hold "Divine Service"! And how softly and 
melodiously our choir, the seething water and the sigh- 
mg breeze, seemed to murmur the responses on that 
bright Sunday morning. 

Shortly after the service was finished, a steamer was 
sighted making towards us; as she was coming from 
Persia we were all on the tip-toe of expectation to get 
the last news from the seat of war.- We were too soon 
made acquainted with it ; for in a short time they neared 
us, and, to our great disgust, made signals that the 
war was over and that she had orders to turn back any 
vessel containing troops that she met. Here, then, was 
our fiat to return to India, leaving us about as wise as 
we were when we started. 

This news was very annoying to all of us, as we had 
looked forward to "seeing a little service." We now 
discovered that five of our troops had seen "a little 
service," for they had been in action. My old troop 
(the H) had also been up the Euphrates; so that my 
promotion, having caused me to be removed to another 
troop, had lost me the chance of being with them. 

These five troops had all, fortunately for them, 
embarked on board steamers, and were consequently not 
only the first that left India, but the first by a long way 
to arrive in Persia, the sailing vessels never reaching it 
at all. I say fortunately, for, although the whole of 
the regiment started, only those who reached Persia in 
time to be present at an enga^ment received a medal ; 



SUNDAY MOBKING. 143 

iso that five troops had a medal, and the remainiiig three 
went back minus the pleasure of a '' go in " and the 
possession of the coveted distinction.* 

But to proceed. Our vessel was put about, not by very 
willing hands on the part of the troop, jou may be sure, 
and in a few days after we reached Bombay. We had 
no sooner arrived when we heard of the Mutiny having 
broken out, and rumours of the frightful atrocities which 
had already been perpetrated. We should have some- 
thing to do after all ; and, perhaps, we, who were late in 
getting to Persia, or rather in not getting there, would 
be first in the field to help avenge our slaughtered 
countrywomen. There was some satisfaction in this 
thought, after our recent disappointment. We were at 
once transhipped to native boats, forwarded on to Polwa, 
disembarked the horses and men there, and the next 
morning started on the road back to Kirkee, there to 
vawait further instructions. 

How slowly the time seemed to pass till the other 
troops gradually came in, and the whole of the regiment 
had arrived at Kirkee. Five troops were immediately 
detailed to proceed to Aurungabad to render assistance 



* I have seen soldiers who serred in the Crimea, with no less than 
fonr medals, but who have confessed to me that they were never 
actually ** under fire." In India things are different ; I have there 
seen men who have marched more than a thousand miles through the 
burning sun, have been within sound of the guns, but, owing to being 
on baggage-guard or other duties, have not been actually engaged, and 
they have not received a medaL The men used to pass their com- 
ments very freely on these facts, not always of a flattering nature to 
those who manage these affairs. 



144 SCRAPS FROM MY 8ABRETASCHE. 

in quelling the mutiny which had broken out among the 
troops of the Hyderabad Contingent, my troop happily 
forming one of the five. 

As it was anticipated we might have some rough work 
to do before we came back, the authorities sensibly per- 
mitted us to wear our turbans instead of the awkward 
shakos ; for which we felt very thankful, the puggrie* 
having been our head-dress ever since the regiment had 
been in India, on all occasions, except when in full-dress, 
when we wore the shako ; now the latter was to be dis- 
carded altogether. We also discontinued wearing stocks 
and gloves ; two thiogs that help to make one appear 
smart on parade, but which cannot be considered of much 
service when it comes to actual fighting, especially in an 
Indian climate. We, therefore, for fear of future acci- 
dents, in the shape of being ordered to wear them agaia^ 
played football for a short time with the shakos, and 
threw both stocks and gloves away as useless and only 
so much superfluous baggage. 

We marched out of the station a morning or two 
after, burning for the time to come when we could show 
some good account with our swords on the mutinous 
Pandys, the men of the three troops that were left behind 
watching us depart with envious eyes at our being selected 
to start before them, and longing for the time when they 
would be ordered to join us. 

* I believe the 14th was the only regunent in India who wore the 
puggrie, till the Mutiny broke out. On account of this we were 
always styled by the natives the Puggrie Wallahs (turbaned men). 



145 



CHAPTER XXI. 

ATJEUNGABAD. — MY FIRST CHARGE. 

At Ahmednugger we were joined by Captain Wooll- 
combe's battery of European horse artillery and the 
24th Bombay Native Infantry. There were unpleasant 
rumours floating about concerning this regiment — that 
the men were insolent, ready for an outbreak, and re- 
fused to march unless served out with ball ammimition, 
which had hitherto been withheld from them from the 
dread, perhaps, of what might take place in the event 
of their proving disloyal.* 

Whether there was any truth, or not, in these 
rumours we — the troops — had no means of ascertaining ; 
but, true or not, I know we looked on them with a 
great deal of suspicion, and, in our own minds, were 
fully convinced that they would be about the first 
batch of Pandies we should have occasion to practise 
our swords upon. 



* The reader will please bear in mind that I speak onlj of the 
impressions the men entertained; these, no doubt, did the 24th 
injustice, as subsequent events appeared to prove. 

10 



146 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRBTASCHB. 

It is a very unpleasant feeling to suspect the loyalty 
of those of your own side — to dread that, at some critical 
moment, the ones you naturally look to for help should 
turn round on you. This was our feeling at that time ; 
but I am happy to say we were mistaken, for they 
proved loyal under all circumstances during the whole 
of the campaign which followed. 

We had just filed into camp, dismounted and picketed 
our horses, one morning after a long march, and were 
waiting for the tents to come up, when news came that 
a portion of the Hyderabad Contingent stationed at 
Aurungabad — a day's march from where we were — ^were 
in open mutiny, and, unless haste was made to succour 
the few Europeans at that place, and quell the out- 
break, there was no telling what the result would be. 

We were immediately ordered to get ready for the 
road again, so, giving the horses their feeds and snatch- 
ing a hasty breakfast ourselves in the meantime, off we 
started once more, forgetting our fatigue in the anxiety 
to be at work amongst the mutineers. 

It was about 10 o'clock when we neared Aurungabad. 
As we came into the station we were met by some 
officers of the Contingent. Captain Abbot, the com- 
manding officer of the 1st Cavalry, conducted the force 
to the lines of the malcontents — ^his own regiment — 
leaving a squadron of ours and two guns to guard the 
bridge leading to them; this was done to keep the 
infantry and artillery of the Contingent in check, in 
case they rose with the intention of assisting the muti- 
neers of the 1st Cavalry. 



AURUNGABAD. — MY FIRST OHARGB. 147 

On arriving at the camp we were formed up — 14th 
on the left, guns in the centre, and the native infantiy 
on the right. The Ist Cavalry were then ordered to 
fall in on foot, facing us, which they did, the native 
officers only being mounted. They were then ordered 
to give up their arms, and the loyal troopers were 
directed to fall out and come on our side ; some few 
did, but the majority refused either to give up their arms 
or come over. It seemed to us that there was too much 
talking going on, and reasoning with the mutineers ; 
we could also see some of them fiercely gesticulating, 
and hear them too. Now, instead of smashing in at 
these insolent fellows and polishing them off as he 
ought to have done, and which would have saved end- 
less trouble. General Woodburn was foolish enough to 
give them six minutes to " consider over it " ; and, while 
we were burning to get at them, and the guns, pre- 
viously loaded with canister, were pointed at them, and 
<;ould have swept them off the face of the earth, they 
sensibly availed themselves of the six minutes, so liber- 
ally given, to mount their horses under our very noses 
and escape, we helplessly looking on during the whole 
proceeding. 

The six minutes having expired, the guns were allowed 
to be fired, knocking over a few picketed horses and a 
«tray ghoi*a- walla or two. We, also, were now permitted 
to charge the empty lines; for by this time most of 
the troopers, well mounted as they were on fresh horses,* 

* It most be borne in mind that onr horses had marched forty miles 
that morning, and that they were naturally pretty nearly knocked up. 

10 * 



148 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

had disappeared in all directions; we succeeded, how- 
ever, in cutting down a few of them, where, but for 
the absurd six minutes' law given bj the old lady of a 
General commanding, every man of them would have 
been accoimted for. 

We came back from our charge as black as sweeps,, 
heartily cursing the stupidity, or tender-heartedness, of 
the old General. I am happy to say that the native 
infantry stood firm, though many of us had thrown 
uneasy glances in their direction till the affair was 
settled. 

During the day a great many of the mutineers were 
brought in ; some of them were shot by us, the 14th— 
I trying my hand once or twice myself at potting them — 
some were blown away from guns or hung ; many were 
flogged, or punished in other ways, and numbers of them 
were disbanded and turned out of the station, to give 
them an opportunity of exciting the troops in other 
stations who had not yet mutinied, but who were quite 
ready at a moment's notice to do so. 

Most of the force shortly after proceeded to Jaulna, 
to scour the country and to give confidence to the loyal 
inhabitants, leaving my troop, numbering about seventy 
men, to guard the station, we being left in a bungalow 
fortified with a prickly-pear hedge running round the 
compound. 

I have, in the foregoing, given only my own meagre 
description of the affair ; the following extract of a letter 
written by a gentleman attached to General Woodbum's 
staff, will give a better idea of the affair than I, with 



AUBUNGABAD. — MY FIEST CHARGE. l49 

my limited opportunities of seeing or knowing, could 
possibly acquire : — 

" A fine sight — 14tli Dragoons first, then the General 
and his staff, then the 28th Native Infantiy, and Captain 
WooUcombe's battery last; the rear brought up by a 
pontoon train, some twenty elephants, and the baggage, 
extending some two miles in length. We came on to Jobra, 
and here my mission ended, as the troops were now out 
of my district, and, indeed, out of the Company's terri- 
tory altogether ; so I went to the General for orders. 
Mayne had not arrived ; and as no one present knew the 
road to Aurungabad except myself, the General asked 
me to go on with them, which I was glad to do, as there 
were worse accounts from Captain Abbot. During the 
day the General received another express from Abbot, 
•which made him determine to get on by forced marches. 
We got into Aurungabad at 10 a.m., and Abbot and his 
•officers came out to meet us. Mayne had joined us just 
before. It was, fortunately, a cool morning, or man and 
horse would never have got through the work cut out for 
them. Well, Abbot told us that things were in a most 
unsatisfactory and critical state ; that since the ladies had 
left, the officers had lived barricaded in the mess-room ; 
and that there was reason to fear not only the statmch- 
ness of the cavalry, but of the infantry and artillery also. 
He said that we were quite unexpected, and that the 
best thing would be to march up to the cavalry intrench- 
ments at once and surprise them. The General consented 
to do so at last. We found some good camping-ground 
for the force on the Nuggur side of the cantonments. 



160 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHB. 

and we inarched on towards the mutineer's lines (Isi 
Cavalry pickets). 

*' Two guns and a squadron of the dragoons were left 
to guard the bridge, in case of a rising of the Nizam's 
artillery or infantiy ; and we went on up to the cavalry- 
lines, which we reached at 12. A long line of white tents,, 
with horses picketed in front, showed us where ttey 
were ; and the General galloped over the ground to 
select a good position. All the officers were, of course, 
with their regiments, so that on the General's stafE were 
only his aid-de-camp (Macdonald), Deputy Adjutant- 
General Coley, Mayne, Abbot, and myself. The cavalry 
bugles were sounded, and men ordered to fall-in on foot,, 
except their mounted (native) officers. Abbot then rode 
past them, and ordered the few men who had remained 
faithful to fall out of the ranks, leaving the mutineers in 
a body in front of their lines. The guns of Woollcombe's 
battery were then ordered to be loaded with canister, 
and drawn up within thirty yards ; and the General, with 
Abbot and the other four of us, rode up to the ranks. 
Abbot was then ordered to speak to the men, and he did 
so, asking them the reason for disobeying orders, and 
for mutinying, reminding them that Government never 
dreamt of attempting to make them change their religion,, 
and of the punishment which awaited them. The mounted 
officer (a jemadar) who commanded this troop, and wha 
was one of the principal instigators of the affair, here 
broke out : * It is not good ; it is all false ! ' Abbot 
drew his pistol, and would have shot him as he stood 
(for speaking in the ranks is equivalent to open mutiny),. 



AUBUNGABAD. — MY FIRST CHAEGB. 151 

but the General turned to liini and said, ' Captain 
Abbot, I desire that you will not fire on your own men,' 
So Abbot put up his pistol, and went on with his harangue. 
After another minute the jemadar broke out again, ' It 
is not true ; it is all false ! Brothers all, prime and fire ! '* 
Upon this, with a crash, out came all their pistols ; and^ 
had they fired, we six must have fallen, as we were not 
five yards from them. My pistol, a revolver, was in my 
hand in a moment ; and, as I was next to the jemadar, I : 
feel confident I could have shot him before he had time 
to raise his. But a panic seized them, and they bolted 
towards their lines, and we rode back behind the guns. 
WooUcombe had dismounted, and was pointing a gun at 
them himself; the port-fire was lighted, and one word 
only was wanted to blow every soul of them to the four 
winds, and thus strike a decisive and terrible blow, which 
would never have been forgotten; but the word was 
not given. The General allowed them to get to their 
horses; and then, as they stood in a group mounting, 
some 260 yards off, Woollcombe ran to another gun, aimed 
and pointed it, and, losing his patience at not being 
ordered to fire, sung out, * May I fire, sir ? ' If any 
answer was returned, certainly no order was given ; and 
the rascals got to their horses, and were up and on them 
and away in a moment. Then came the order to fire, 
just as they were getting under cover of some buildings ; 
some twenty-nine shots were fired at them, but without 
effect, only killing some few horses and a poor ghora- 
walla. The dragoons were then ordered to charge, as 
the mutineers had by this time cleared their lines, and 



152 SCRAPS FROM MT SABRETASCHE. 

were drawn up in a line on a plain to our right, out of 
shot of the guns. Forward went the 14th at a gallop ; 
and the men of the 1st waited in line till the 14th were 
tolerably near them, and then broke up, and each man 
tamed his horse's head and dispersed in every possible 
direction. The dragoons caught and cut down some half- 
a-dozen, and the rest got away. 

" Towards the evening, nearly seventy of those who had 
escaped were taken or given up; and this reduced the 
number of those who had actually got away to about fifty- 
five. The jemadar who had first drawn his pistol was 
missing altogether, and no tidings could be got of him, 
though the General was most anxious to secure him. Had 
the guns opened upon the rascals directly they drew their 
fire-arms, not one could have escaped ; and a blow direct 
and decisive would have been struck, and the mutiny in 
all probability quelled, in these parts, at all events. All 
were disappointed at the result, and particularly as the 
General had them so entirely at his mercy." 



V 



153 



CHAPTER XXII. 



HARINI. 



The troops started on their expedition, and left ns to 
liold a sort of check over Aurungabad till reinforcements 
came preparatory to a move up the country on a lai^er 
scale. 

This was not bj any means a pleasant position, cooped 
up in a bungalow whose only fortification consisted of 
a prickly-pear hedge, in the neighbourhood of a large 
city well-known to be swarming with disaffected or dis- 
banded troops and hudmaaheay who, after the recent terrible 
•examples shown to some of their numbers, could not 
reasonably be supposed to be very friendly to us 
J'eringees. 

Aurungabad is essentially a Mussulman city, second 
•only to Hyderabad, the capital of the country, which is 
<!alled a Mahomedan state, that is, governed by a 
Mahomedan prince, styled a Nawab (though the majority 
of the inhabitants are Hindoo), in contradistinction to 
those states which are governed by Hindoo or Maratha 
potentates. 



154 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHB. 

It was a " native state," or one not directly under the- 
control of the British, except in so far as having a 
Eesiden staying at the capital, and of being compelled 
by treaty to equip and arm a certain number of troops,, 
commanded and officered by British officers. These were 
called contingent troops ; and, on emergency, were liable 
to be called on by the British Government to serve ; but, 
on the contrary, we had to turn out against some of them, 
as the foregoing chapter has shown. 

The city of Aurungabad, as near as I could guess, 
would probably contain about 200,000 inhabitants ; these, 
not having had many opportunities of cultivating the 
acquaintance of Kafirs and Feringees, naturally looked upon 
us as intruders. 

The same narrow, dirty streets and bazaars, that one- 
sees in every native city, were to be seen in this one. 
It contains the ruins of Aurungzebe's beautiful palace 
and gardens ; and it also possesses a magnificent building 
called the Fakir's Tomb, which appeared to me to be a 
fac-simile of the Taj at Agra, but that this (the Fakir's 
Tomb) was chunaniy while the Taj is of white marble. 

I used nearly every day to ramble into the city, 
regardless of the prohibition to go there, or the scowling 
looks of the inhabitants. Perhaps, I put a good deal of 
faith in my knowledge of the language, and the facility 
with which I could pass myself off as a Mussulman ; for, 
if asked, I used generally to do so, palming myself oft 
as a veritable hajee, who had made his pilgrimage to the- 
tomb of the Prophet, and was entitled to wear the green 
turban. This would invariably cause me to be treated 



I 



HARINI. 165 

with marked respect; for, in addition to being able ta 
speak the language tolerably well, I could read and write 
it with ease. 

While strolling through the city one day, I was 
attracted by a pair of the most lustrous black eyes I had 
ever beheld ; not your great staring black ones like beads 
or doll's eyes, with no expression in them whatever, but 
eyes of such dazzling brightness, such a liquid depth,, 
such rayishing sweetness, so soft and winning, yet 
withal so wicked, that I was thoroughly captivated by 
them. Those eyes were owned by a little Mussulmani 
damsel, whose face I could not properly see, as she 
modestly concealed the lower part by drawing a portion 
of her veil over it with one of the smallest of hands,, 
dimpled like a baby's. She wore trousers, which, being 
drawn close to the ankle, disclosed the tiniest of 
stockingless feet thrust into pretty little embroidered 
papooshes. 

But those eyes, go where I would, — and I was irresist- 
ibly compelled to follow her — were perpetually meeting 
mine. I followed her about till she proceeded homewards,, 
and I saw her safe in what I concluded to be her house^ 
which was a large one with the usual amount of dead 
walls and small loop-holes, with which the houses of 
wealthy Mussulmans are distinguished. I lingered about 
the house, hoping to catch another glance of her through 
the loop-holes ; but, not being rewarded with one, I 
returned home to the bungalow, only to dream of bright 
eyes, small hands, bare feet, loop-holes, and budmashes. 

The next day, haunted by the recollection of yesterday's- 



156 SCRAPS FROM MY SABEETASOUB. 

yision, I went into the city again. Instead of rebels and 
budmashes, it might have been swarming with incarnate 
fiends, and I would still have gone. What did I care 
for budmashes, or any other mashes, so long as I could 
only see those eyes again ! I saw her soon after, accom- 
panied by her old duenna, and I went through yesterday's 
programme : following her about, meeting her eyes oc- 
casionally, and seeing her home ; but rewarded this 
time by a wave of her little hand through one of the 
loop-holes. 

This sort of thing continued for some time, I becoming 
more and more infatuated every day ; so much so, that 
I composed poetical effusions by the yard, which I used 
to put into the best Hindustani I could muster. Some 
idea may be formed of how far I was gone by the 
following specimen, which I named " Wants and Wishes." 
The reader is earnestly requested not to laugh, for I can 
assure him or her that I was perfectly serious at the 
time. As far as I remember, some of the verses ran 
thus: — 

Oh I for a small white hand to press, 

And that dear hand be thine I 
To feel an answering caress, 

Whene'er that hand touched mine. 

Oh I for those black and lustrous eyes, 

Brighter than stars aboye I 
To see them speak their words, their sighs ; 

For eyes can speak of love. 

That last idea I thought a masterpiece. But I will not 
inflict the whole of the seventy-three verses on the reader ; 
43uffice it to say they were all in a similar strain 



I 



HAEINI. 157 

to the two preceding verses, and concluded with the 
following : — 

But what I want most is the heart ; 

Tes, *tis for that I pine. 
Give me the whole — nay, but a part, 

And all the rest are mme. 

How avaricious ! When I look back on this production^ 
it seems to me as if I must have been somewhat of a can- 
nibal, and was trying to get hold of a tit-bit, preferring 
the heart, of course, to any part of the human frame. 

She used now, I could see, to come out expressly to 
meet me, and would smile when she saw me, letting me 
see it, too, by coquettishly dropping her veil from the 
lower part of her face ; and I even succeeded in putting 
some of my Hindustani effusions into her hand, which 
she had tact enough to receive without attracting the 
attention of the duenna — though after-reflection convinced 
me that the old lady thought it advisable not to see such 
trifles. 

One afternoon, after following her to her home, I was 
gratified to see her hand appear through the loop-hole as 
usual ; but, after waving it, apparently to attract my 
attention, she closed it, again opened it as before, and 
then pointed downwards to a little door in the dead wall. 
This operation she repeated three times, as if to impress 
it on my mind. I interpreted these signals to mean, " Be 
at the little gate at 10 o'clock to-night," and went home 
fully convinced in my own mind that I had translated 
them properly; and equally determined to be there, in 
spite of orders, hvdmashes, or the devil himself. 



168 »OKAPS FROM MY SABEETASCflE. 

Accordingly, after watch -setting, I put on a civilian's 
overcoat I had ; took my bare sword-blade, which I con- 
cealed under it, with the hilt in my hand, and went to 
the sentry on the main- gate, who readily passed me out — 
in fact, being a bit of a favourite with the men, I don't 
think a man of the troop would have refused me egress 
or ingress at any hour, in spite of orders to the contrary ; 
for they knew, whatever little peccadilloes I might be 
engaged in, I was always sober; and if it came to 
anything in the shape of blows, I had all my wits about 
me, and was well able to take care of myself. Simply 
remarking, " Hallo ! what 's your game to-night ? " he 
allowed me to pass out. 

On my way to the city I weighed the probable danger 
I might plunge myself into — (for, take it how I would, I 
knew it to be dangerous) — against the bright eyes of my 
inamorata ; and truth compels me to admit that the latter 
triumphed, as they ought to, of course. However, should 
anything happen, I had my sword-blade ; I could use it 
too ; and I thouglit, as I went along, that half-a-dozen 
budmashes would not stop me from getting to that little 
gate in the wall. By heavens ! I believe if fifty were in 
the way I should have a go in at them ! 

Nothing of the sort took place. I safely threaded the 
dark narrow streets without meeting a soul, till I came to 
the little door. By this time it must have been about 
ten ; so, after waiting in the shadow of the wall for a 
few minutes, I gently pushed the door ; it was open, and 
I hastily ensconced myself inside. I had hardly done so, 
when I felt my sleeve pidled by some one ; it was a little 



HABINl. 169 

-girl, who intimated by signs that I was to follow her. 
Grasping my sword with my right hand, and my left 
being held by the little girl, I was led through several 
dark passages and up a flight of steps, till we came to a 
sort of hall or lobby. A small lamp, in a niche in the 
wall, showed some curtains on the left-hand side of the 
landing. These my little guide drew aside, and disclosed 
a gloomy looking room — at least as far as light was 
concerned, for when we entered I could feel there was 
carpeting on the floor. 

The little girl signed for me to remain there, while 
she went into an inner room, which was also screened 
off by curtains. I could hear a sort of suppressed shuffle 
— if the reader knows what that is — and in a few 
moments the little girl re-appeared at the opening of the 
curtains, and beckoned me in. 

My heart beat audibly as I entered the room occupied 
by her. I should at length see her, and be able to tell 
her — Kafir as I was — in her own language how I loved 
her ; how her bright eyes had enslaved me ; how — psha ! 
— I entered. There she sat on some cushions, in a sort of 
recess. I knew it was her, though I could not see her face, 
which was hidden by her two little hands. I instinctively 
dropped my sword-blade, which I had carefully treasured 
np till this, and, throwing myself on the cushions beside 
her, I poured out a perfect torrent of incoherent language, 
in which the words dil, jpyar, pyara, &c. were largely 
employed. 

I had previously conned over in my own mind some 
high-flown oriental figures, which I fancied I could use 



160 SOEAPS FROM MY SABBETASOHB. 

to great advantage, such as some of the beautifal verses 
of the Persian poet Hafiz : — 

Jab 86 lagi teri ankiyan, 
Dil ho gea diwani ; 
Tn Leila hain, main Majnoo ; 
Ta Shera hain, main Kujnoo ; 
Tn gnl hain, main bnlbnl ; 
Tn sh^sh, main pnrwana. 

Since I felt the influence of thine eyes, 

My heart has become mad ; 

Thou art Leila, I am Majnoo ; 

Thou art Shera, I am Kujnoo ; 

Thou art the rose, I am the nightingale ; 

Thou art the lamp, I am the moth. 

Pooh! What was Leila? A regular old hag, by the 
side of my little Leila, or whatever her name was ! Who 
was Shera? A perfect harridan, that would bear no 
comparison with my Shera! As for Mujnoo and Kujnoo 
they were milk-and-water characters, who were per- 
petually whining about love, but never had the courage 
to tell the objects of it to their faces that they loved; 
bleating their love to strangers, and keeping those who 
ought to have known it, in ignorance. 

Li short, I found my own natural way of expressing 
myself in Hindustani, incoherent though it might have 
been, was thoroughly appreciated. I question if many 
Moslem young ladies had ever had a lover so energetic 
in language, or action either; for, on perceiving, after 
all my rhapsody, she still concealed her face in her 
hands, I concluded the best way would be to attack 
any undefended place with kisses, the best weapon I 
could think of; this would naturally draw the hands to- 



HAEINI. 161 

that point to protect it, whicli would as naturally leave 
some other place exposed. 

This was really delightful occupation, and exhibited 
a great knowledge of attack and defence on both sides, 
and I indulged in it with great zest, murmuring, as I 
attacked each undefended spot, some such word as pyara 
or diUkkoosh, till, happening to raise my eyes, I saw my 
little guide, and another little girl I had not observed 
before, staring on and contemplating this scene with 
evident gusto. " Pyara ! " I exclaimed, on perceiving it, 
" look at those two little girls ; are you not afraid they 
will betray us ? " " Fear not," said the girl, " they are 
mutes ; they cannot, even if they wished." 

These were the first words she had spoken, and certainly 
her voice did not belie her eyes, for it was as sweet as 
they were bright. Bulbuls are generally put down as 
having the sweetest voices par excellence ; but I maintain 
that the notes of a bulbul would bear no more comparison 
to the voice of my little one, than would the scream of 
a pea-fowl with the whooping-cough to the mellow notes 
of a bulbul. 

The circumstance of the mutes having caused her to 
open her lips, we now began to converse a little, and by 
degrees I gathered all the particulars of her version of 
our acquaintance, from the day she first saw me till the 
present time; and I frankly own, that when, on my 
pressing her, she hid her darling head in my bosom, and 
whispered that she loved me, I did feel immeasurably 
delighted ; for it w a delightful thing to be told one is 
loved, especially when the dear one who tells you so has 

11 



162 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABRETASCHE.' 

a handsome form, bright eyes, winning voice, and all the 
accessions which enhance the value of such a confession. 
**0h! if there is a paradise on earth, it is this! it is 
this ! " Those who put that sentence up in the hall of the 
palace at Delhi could not have been good Mussulmans, for 
they evidently forgot the houris who form the greatest 
attraction of a Mahomedan paradise. 

Each night found me in the hovdoir of my little hourly 
the fair Harini (Fawn) ; for this I found to be her name, 
and a charming one I thought it, too, and very applicable, 
both as regarded her eyes and her fawn-like ways. I 
made great friends, too, with the little mutes by my kind 
manner to them ; they were not in the least afraid of the 
savage Kafir, Well might they be called mutes ; for the 
poor little things had had their tongues cut out in 
infancy, and they could not tell anything, as my Harini 
had truly said. 

I had often heard or read of mutes, but I had never 
before had an opportunity of seeing them ; it not being 
a general thing for an Englishman to be doing the 
amiable in a seraglio. I must remark here, that, during 
the whole of my visits, I never once saw the old duenna 
who had formerly accompanied Harini to the bazaar, nor 
did I feel sufficient interest to inquire ; suffice it, that I 
nightly indulged in my terrestrial paradise, and the more 
I saw of the little Harini, the more I felicitated myself 
on my acquisition, and became charmed with her. As 
or the danger of going there, I had utterly forgotten all 
about it ; or was, perhaps, rather reckless concerning it, 
though I still carried my trusty sword-blade. 



k 



HABINl. 163 

One night I was proceeding as usual to tlie residence 
of my Dulcinea, and was within some two or three 
hundred yards of the place, when, passing down a narrow 
lane, I was stopped by a woman, who, in the most 
earnest manner, begged me not to go to the place where 
I went every night, as a party of hudmashes were lurking 
in the neighbourhood with the intention of murdering 
me. This intelligence somewhat startled me, but I still 
felt inclined to proceed, and, in a tone of bravado, showing 
her my sword-blade, exclaimed, " What do I care for 
hudmashes, while I have this ? " " Ah, Sahib ! " said the 
woman, " what would be the use of your sword against a 
dozen tulwars? You have been watched coming here 
every night, and you would only recklessly throw your 
life away if you attempt to proceed. For AllaVs sake, 
turn back while there is yet time." 

I was not so foolish as not to perceive that my best 
course was to take her advice, which I did, with great 
reluctance ; first ofEering the woman a rupee for her 
kindness in giving me this information, without which 
I should probably have " lost the number of my mess," 
and this valuable work would never have seen the light. 
The rupee she peremptorily refused, affirming that she 
did not tell me for gain, but to save my life. Grateful 
to her for her kindness, and wishing her to have some 
souvenir of my gratitude, I gave her a kiss, which she 
unresistingly accepted. I then, with a heavy heart, turned 
on my heel, and, as the Yankees say, " commenced 
making tracks " for home. 

Here was a dilemma! My nightly assignations were 

11 * 



164 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASOHE. 

evidently known ; and by those, too, who would scruple at 
nothing to stop them. I could see no reason to doubt 
the story of the woman ; in fact, the kindness she had 
shown to me, a stranger and a Kajvr, elicited my warmest 
gratitude, and I felt convinced she had told the truth. 
At any rate she knew, and, if she did, what was to prevent 
others from being as well informed as she was ? How 
about Harini? If our meetings were known, what had 
happened, or would happen, to her ? My mind gloomily 
ran through long vistas of bow-stringing, tying in sacks, 
and throwing in rivers, which I had often heard as being 
the fate of delinquents in harems. "Good heavens! 
perhaps she has already met her death ! " I inwardly 
ejaculated. 

I was indulging in these gloomy meditations as I slowly 
plodded on my way back, when I fancied I heard the light 
patter of footsteps at some distance behind me. I turned 
my head and strained my eyes in that direction, but the 
night was so intensely dark that I could scarcely see a 
yard off. Perhaps it was the woman following to see 
me safe out of the city ; perhaps one of those infernal 
hudmashes stealing after me, in hopes of getting an 
opportimity of giving me a quiet stab in the back. I 
was determined to see, so I went first up one street and 
down another, through several that did not actually lead 
me straight home but tended in that direction, the same 
pattering steps still following me. 

This convinced me that the steps I heard were not 
those of a common wayfarer, for a casual passenger 
could not possibly want to wander up and down the 



HABINI. 1 65 

identical streets that I did ; it must be someone dogging 
me. I resolved at least to see who the individual was 
who so pertinaciously followed me ; waiting, therefore, 
till I came to the next street corner, I turned it sharplj, 
suddenly stopped, and drew myself up close to the wall, 
ready for a spring on whoever it might be. The person 
came to the comer, and was in the act of turning it 
when I dashed out, had his throat comfortably in 
my left hand, and my sword at his ribs in a moment. 
The fellow seemed panic-struck, and before he could 
recover his fright I had taken one of those long curved 
daggers from his waist and shied it over the wall of 
a neighbouring house. 

This all passed in much less time than I have taken 
to write it. I again grabbed him by the throat, and 
seriously contemplated inserting an inch or two of steel 
between his ribs; fortunately, as it turned out, I did 
not, but, releasing his throat a little, I inquired what he 
was following me about for. The fellow seemed too much 
frightened to give me any coherent replies; so, giving 
him a farewell shake, I again proceeded on my way 
homewards. 

It must have been getting on for 12 when I ap- 
proached the bungalow; when within about a hundred 
yards distance from it, the sentry loudly challenged, 
"Who comes there?" to which I promptly answered, 
^* A friend ! " and confidently advanced in his direction. 
As I drew near, I could see the white portico looming 
through the darkness, but could not perceive the sentry, 
as it was so pitchy black. On arriving at the portico, 



166 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

out stepped the sergeant-major and the sergeant of the 
guard. " Who's that ? " quoth the sergeant-major. 
'' It 's me, corporal," replied I, somewhat taken aback at 
being caught. " What are you doing out at this time of 
night ?" asked he. " Oh ! a bit of a stroll," I replied, 
in an off-handed nonchalant manner, though I began to 
perceive I was getting into it very perceptibly. 

Turning to the sergeant, he ordered him to take me 
to the guard-tent to see what state I was in (i.e. drunk 
or sober). Of course, I knew I was perfectly sober, so 
I was safe as &ur as that went ; but I had, unfortunately, 
the sword-blade with me, which was rather a serious 
affair, persons not being allowed to wander out at night 
with naked sword-blades instead of walking-sticks. How- 
ever, neither of them had yet observed it, and I had hopes 
of their not having the opportunity of doing so, as I 
intended to rid myself of it as soon as possible. When 
I entered the guard-tent, therefore, I quietly dropped the 
sword-blade behind the wall of it, unobserved, as I 
thought, by the sergeant, and looked at one of the men 
as much as to say, ^'Take care of it for me," which I 
knew he would do if it were in his power. The sergeant, 
however, saw it, and my telegraphing too, as I found 
out afterwards, though he pretended he did not. I was 
inspected by him, and reported perfectly sober; on which 
he was ordered to conduct me to my room a prisoner. 

I might have been in my room half an hour — ^not 
very cheerful either, considering the occurrences of the 
last two hours — ^when I bethought myself of my sword- 
blade, and that it would be advisable to bring it away 



HABINI. 167 

from the guard-tent in case of accidents; so I sallied 
out with that intention, but I had not got a dozen yards 
from my room when I came plump on to the sergeant- 
major and sergeant again. '' Oh ! " cried the sergeant- 
major, " breaking your arrest ! " and he called lustily for 
two men to take me to the guard-tent, and thither I 
was accordingly conducted. 

The sergeant-major, who was not a bad sort of fellow 
in general, this eyening had, unfortunately for me, been 
imbibing slightly; and he had this peculiarity in his 
cups — it could not be detected in his manner or conver- 
sation, but he was always intensely " duty-struck " at 
those times. He started o£E at once to the captain's 
quarters, roused him up, and gave such a glowing descrip- 
tion of my being out with a drawn sword, and afterwards 
breaking my arrest, that I firmly believe he thought I was 
a most dangerous character to be allowed to remain loose, 
and that the most proper place for me was a cell. He 
succeeded in imbuing the captain with the same idea. I 
was, therefore, placed in an out-building which answered 
the purpose of a prison, and in which one of the muti- 
neers of the 1st Cavalry was already confined. 

Behold me, then, installed in the same cell with a rebel 
who was waiting for death ! A small lamp burning 
dimly in a niche in the wall ; he chained up in a corner ; 
I stamping up and down the floor ; and a sentry posted 
outside with a loaded carbine. There seemed, in spite 
of the serious aspect affairs were beginning to wear, some- 
thing so absurd and ludicrous in taking such care of 
me, that I could not resist roaring out with laughter. 



168 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHB. 

My fellow-prisoner, wlio hitherto had occupied himself 
with intently staring at me from underneath the guUerie 
in which he was huddled, wondering probably what crime 
I had been guilty of to be considered a fit companion 
for him in his retirement, now inquired the cause of my 
appearance there. In reply, I gave an account of my 
adventure with the sword-blade; the other parts I, of 
course, suppressed. This naturally led him to imagine 
my proclivities were somewhat truculent, and, on his 
questioning me more closely, I am afraid I told him a 
vast number of fibs which I will not insert here lest 
my character for veracity be questioned. 

I thought I had now an excellent opportunity of culti- 
vating his acquaintance, and ascertaining how rebel affairs 
stood ; I therefore boldly declared I was a rebel, and a 
Mahomedan to boot ! This rather surprised my quondam 
friend, for he had not, I imagine, met many Feringee 
Mahomedans. He proceeded at once to put my religious 
principles to the test, and the satisfactory manner in which 
I answered his questions apparently convinced him that 
I was not only a hond fide Mussulman but a green- 
turbaned Hajee. 

We were soon on the best of terms, and discoursed 
very learnedly on various subjects connected with 
Mahomedanism, and the relative merits of the Soonis 
and Sheeas. I was, of course, of whatever opinion he 
was in this case ; perfectly coinciding with all his views 
on the subject. By-the-way, I forget now which he was, 
Sooni or Sheea ; but that is immaterial after this lapse of 
time. 



HABINI. 169 

The whole of this I looked upon as a capital joke, for 
I naturally concluded I should be released in the morn- 
ing ; but I was fated to be most grievously disappointed. 
Morning came, and with it, instead of my release, the 
order that I was to be kept in the cell till the head- 
quarters of the regiment arrived, which was expected in 
the course of three or four days with other reinforce- 
ments. This was something beyond a joke. The captain, 
it seems, thought my adventure so too, and did not con- 
sider himself competent to release me under existing 
circumstances. 

I had now plenty of leisure to reflect over recent events, 
which did not tend to make me very cheerful. What 
had become of Harini ? What would be done to me on 
the arrival of head-quarters ? For, however absurd the 
whole afEair might appear, in a military point of view it 
was very serious. There was nothing for it, however, 
but patience. Those four days seemed interminably 
long, but I shortened them as much as possible, and 
relieved the melancholy monotony of my thoughts by 
talking and listening to my fellow-prisoner. 

At length the reinforcements arrived, and immediately 
there was a rush of those who had friends in the troop 
to the bungalow, to hear the news, and, as a natural 
consequence, some of them — not having yet come into 
contact with the rebels — came to look at the one with me. 
On seeing me also in the cell inquiries would be made 
as to what I was doing there, to which I invariably 
replied that I was put there to " pump the prisoner," and 
the men, knowing I was an adept in the language, went 



170 SCRAPS FBOK HT SABBETASCHE. 

away perfectly satisfied with my account, till they were 
nndeceived by those who knew the real particulars of my 
imprisonment. 

The morning after the arrival of head-quarters I was 
marched a prisoner to the *' office-tent," and charged, 
firstly, with " breaking out of cantonments after watch- 
setting, and having in my possession a drawn sword," &c.^ 
secondly, with " breaking my arrest." In reply to these 
charges I briefly related the truth, omitting, of course, 
the romantic part of the affair. After being severely 
reprimanded by the colonel for not setting a better 
example to the men, I was released ; very glad to get off 
so lightly. 

A few days after, a parade of the whole of the troops 
took place, to witness the execution of a rebel by blowing 
him from a gun. This was my fellow-prisoner. Previous 
to being blown away he had to march past the different 
ranks, which he did with a firm step and erect carriage. 
As he passed by my troop I met his eye, which seemed 
to say : " Well, I 'm very glad to see you are all right, at 
least." His position and mine, at this moment, reminded 
me greatly of the " butcher and baker." 

He marched boldly to the gun, planted himself firmly 
at the muzzle, remarking that he did not want to be tied* 
The word was given, and in a moment my four days^ 
companion was scattered in every direction. 

For the information of readers who may not know how 
a man is blown from a gun, I will briefly relate it. The 
prisoner is generally tied to a gun with the upper part 
of the small of his back resting against the muzzle* 



HABINI, 171 

When tlie gun is fired, his head is seen to go straight up 
into the air some forty or fifty feet ; the arms fly ofE right 
and left, high up in the air, and fall at, perhaps, a hundred 
yards distance ; the legs drop to the ground beneath the 
muzzle of the gun ; and the body is literally blown away 
altogether, not a vestige being seen. As there were 
several blown away from guns at Aurungabad, some of my 
old comrades will remember this particular one, not only 
from the fact of my having been in prison with him, but 
from the remarkable words made use of by him, and 
which were read on that parade : " If I live, I shall be an 
avenger ; if I die, I shall die a martyr." ' 

I never heard nor saw any more of Harini ; what became 
of her I suppose I shall never know. More stirring 
scenes afterwards caused me to forget, partially, the 
circumstances of my adventure with her ; but, even now, 
there are times when I recall with a sigh her bright eyes 
and winning ways, and I wonder what was her probable 
fate. Poor little Harini ! 



172 SC&APS 7B0M MT SABBETASCHE. 



CHAPTER XXin. 

LAHORE. BHOPAL CONTINGENT. 

OuB force remained in Aumngabad till it was properly 
organised for effective work in the field ; we then left,* 
proceeding in the direction of Central India; and our 
march through the different districts, no doubt, had the 
effect of tranquillising the respectable and well-disposed, 
and of being a sort of check on the lawless portion of the 
various populations. 

It is needless to describe the wild and romantic scenery 
of jungle, plain, and mountain we passed through, over a 
tract of country not often crossed by the British soldier. 
Among the many places deserving note may be mentioned 
Ajunta, with its ghaut and magnificent scenery ; the 
caves of Ellora; the battle-field of Assaye; Aseerghur, 
one of the strongest fortresses in India ; and numerous 
other places. Suffice it to say that we crossed the 
Nerbudda at Hoosingabad, marched on to Bhopal, the 

* The let Brigade started for the relief of Mhow on the 12th Jnly. 



LAHORE. — BHOPAL CONTINGENT. 173 

capital of the petty state of that name, and proceeded to 
Sehore, a large town distant from the latter place twenty- 
two miles, where some regiments of the Bhopal Contingent 
were stationed. Here we halted for a time. 

Circumstances afterwards told us why we halted at 
that place, but for the present we remained in profound 
ignorance, and fancied we were wasting precious time in 
inglorious ease when we could be better employed against 
the rebels farther up the country, of whose atrocities 
rumour brought so many fearful accounts ; but our 
superiors knew what they were about better than we did, 
as will be seen in the sequel. 

One morning at stable-hour we were ordered to have 
our arms in the lines, and the horses ready saddled and 
bridled; the men were, however, to be strip- shirted, as 
was usual at that hour, and busy about the horses, but to 
be prepared to mount at a moment's notice. Of course, 
we thought something out of the common was afoot, and 
speculated among ourselves what the upshot was to be. 
While thus engaged, the different regiments of the Bhopal 
Contingent marched by the head of the lines, and we 
began to suspect that our preparation had something to 
do with them, though in what manner we could not 
conjecture. 

They had no sooner passed the lines than we were 
quietly ordered to put on our jackets and arms, and mount. 
In a few minutes we had formed up in front of the 
lines; we were rapidly "told off," and at once, with the 
infantry and artillery belonging to the force, marched off 
in the direction the Bhopal Contingent had taken. 



174 SCBAPS PROM MY 8ABRETASCHE. 

We soon reached a large plain, where we saw the 
Bhopal troops going through a field day. It seems the 
whole — or some portion, rather — of the Contingent had 
previously mutinied, and had assisted in the outbreak at 
Indore; but, on hearing of the expected arrival of our 
column, had returned to their duty, thinking their delin- 
quency would not be discovered, or, if discovered, would 
not be punished. They were, however, destined to be 
mistaken ; but the difficulty was, to disarm them without 
bloodshed or loss to us. Finesse was resorted to to effect 
that object, and the result showed that it succeeded to a 
nicety. 

Brigadier Mayne ordered a general parade of the Con- 
tingent, as if for inspection, and putting them through a 
field-day. The troops unsuspiciously marched to the 
parade-ground, were inspected by the Brigadier, and put 
by him through a few manceuvres. We now appeared on 
the scene ; and the erewhile mutineers — concluding, pro- 
bably, we were to join in the manoeuvres, but had arrived 
late — showed no suspicion. The Brigadier then formed 
them up in line, and gave the infantry the order to 
" pile arms " ; this they did ; he then gave the word 
" right-about face," and marched them some distance to 
the rear. 

This, being a common movement, did not excite their 
suspicion ; but no sooner were they a sufficient distance 
off, than a portion of our force was rapidly placed between 
them and their weapons ; at the same time our guns, 
loaded with canister, were turned on their cavalry and 
artillery ; thus the whole lot were rendered powerless. 



LIHORE. — BHOPAL CONTINGENT. 175 

In the meanwhile we had surrounded the parade-ground 
to prevent anyone from escaping ; our followers collected 
the arms, and placed them in {hackeries that were at 
hand ; the cavalry were ordered to dismount, which thej 
did most unwillingly, and their horses were led away by 
our grooms. The whole of the Contingent were then 
ordered to peel off their uniforms, and were marched 
prisoners to a camp prepared for them, and strictly 
guarded. 

As it turned out, it was fortunate this plan of disarming 
them was adopted ; for many of the muskets were after- 
wards found to be loaded with ball, and, under other 
circumstances, probably many lives would have been lost 
— and we were not so many in numbers that we could 
afford to lose even one through mismanagement or 
recklessness. Thus what threatened to be a dangerous 
undertaking was accomplished, through tact, without the 
loss of a man."*^ 

Guarding these men caused us a great deal of extra 
work, for we were nearly always on duty ; but the arrival 
of Sir Hugh Rose, who assumed charge of our force, 
soon put a stop to this sort of thing. He at once ordered 
a drum-head court-martial to sit for the trial of the 
prisoners, and the result of its first sitting was that a 
hundred and forty-nine of them were convicted and 
sentenced to death. Not a bad beginning. 



* I have no means of ascertaining the strength either of onr force, 
or that of the Contingent ; but I think they out-numbered ns, which 
made the undertaking somewhat hazardous, and, had they known our 
intentions, we must have lost many men. 



176 SCRIPS PEOM MY SABRBTASOHB. 

The carrying out of the sentence was a little out of the 
common, so I will relate it as well as my memory will 
allow me, and, making allowance for some inaccuracy in 
minor details, I think it will be found substantially 
correct. 

At about 6 o'clock in the evening the hundred and 
forty-nine men, pinioned, were marched to the rear of 
the camp. They were drawn up in line; facing them, 
and but a few feet distant, were the same number of 
English infantry — most of them recruits belonging to the 
3rd Bombays.* These were placed, each man opposite a 
prisoner, and at the word " fire " would each be expected 
to "polish off" his man. Behind these, on foot, were 
fifty of us (the 14th) ready to give a quietus with our 
swords to those of the prisoners who, by accident or 
any other cause, should not have received it from the 
infantry. 

We could easily see that some of the young fellows 
forming the firing-party did not half like the job, as it 
was the first time they had witnessed the shedding of 
blood, or, rather, were to shed blood themselves — especially 
in such a manner, face to face — without the excitement 
which is felt in a battle, and which takes away all its 
horror. It is, I must confess, unpleasant to shed blood in 
cold blood for the first time ; one can only become used 
to it in time, and then only do it because it is one's duty 
to do so. The infantry felt its unpleasantness, I have no 
doubt. 

* 3rd Bombay European Fusiliers. 



% 



BHOPAL CONTINGENT. 177 

Firing-party and prisoners were facing each other ; the 
prisoners thinking, perhaps, of the lives they were so soon 
to lose, the firing-party of the lives they were so soon to 
take. The word was given. Now came the awkward 
part. The rebels knew the words of command just as 
well as our own men did, and acted accordingly ; for at 
the word " Fire ! " some threw themselves down on the 
ground uninjured, the shot passing harmlessly over them, 
these prisoners then attempting to bolt — others were, of 
course, shot down. On the other hand, some of the 
firing-party — ^perhaps from nervousness — missed ; or, 
being so close to the men they had to shoot, when they 
fired, the wads from their muskets set fire to the muslin 
clothes worn by the prisoners, and there were seen men 
wildly running about or writhing on the ground in flames. 

The sight was very awful, especially as it was by this 
time nearly dark, and the men looked just like so many 
demons running about. The moment the infantry had 
fired they stepped back, and left us to finish the work^ 
which we did in a very short time, not being very 
squeamish over it either, nor missing a man ; for, curiously 
enough, when the bodies were counted the next morning 
— ^and they presented a most ghastly spectacle, lying 
about in every possible position — they were found all cor- 
rect, but — there was one over ! Instead of the hundred and 
forty-nine bodies there were now a hundred and fifty'! * 

* The " one over " was, I believe, a brother of one of the priBonec^, 
come to see the last of him, and in the melie must have shared 'his 
brother's fate, whether by accident, or purposely, no one knew. 



12 



178 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABRETASCHE. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE EESURRECTIONIST. 

Shobtly after the last post sounded, and when those 
who were off duty had just turned in, as thej thought, 
for the night, on the night of the executions described in 
the last chapter, we were startled by an alarming 
uproar in the direction of the prisoners' camp ; muskets 
firing, shouting, yelling, in fact a regular hubbub appeared 
to be going on in that vicinity. Of course we were up 
in a moment, turned out in no time, and anyhow, — some 
even going " Dagobert fashion," — and quickly proceeded 
thither to ascertain the cause. 

From what could be gathered, it appeared that the 
prisoners were struck with dismay on hearing of the 
deaths of their hundred and forty-nine comrades, and had 
very gloomy apprehensions as to what would be their own 
pi;obable fate; thinking, no doubt, that the whole lot 
would be polished off by similar instalments. They, 
therefore, hastily made up a plot amongst themselves 
to attempt escape by seizing a propitious moment and 
making a general rush for it. Arming themselves with 



THE EESUBRECTIONIST. 179 

tent-pegs, lotas,* or anything that came to hand, soon after 
watch-setting, thej dashed out on all sides, thinking to 
pass the two cordons of sentries that were posted round 
their camp ; but the sentries were on the alert, and shot 
them down or bayoneted them in all directions, and, 
with the assistance of the troops from our camp, succeeded 
in beating the remainder back, so that I do not think one 
man escaped. 

The drum-head court-martial sat every day ; as regu- 
larly convicted and sentenced detachments of the prisoners 
to death, and they were as duly disposed of in various 
manners. One day, I remember, there were thirty to be 
executed in one batch, of which ten were to be blown away 
from guns, ten shot by musketry, and ten hung. They 
were marched to the place appointed for their execution. 
On the road there, and previous to the sentence being 
carried out, one of them, a ferocious-looking Mussulman, 
spat up to heaven, cursing the Almighty in a most awful 
manner for allowing the Kafirs^ to thus take the lives of 
good Mussulmans ; this he continued till the very last 
moment. 

The arrangements were soon completed, and, at a signal, 
ten men were blown away from the guns and sent flying 
into the air, ten dropped under the fire of musketry, and 
ten swung on the branches of a convenient tree, kicking 
against time till death put an end to their struggles. To 
those who have not witnessed such scenes the account 



* Small brass vessels for water, &c 
t Unbelievers, infidels. 

J2 



180 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

only must appear revolting in the extreme ; it is never- 
theless true, and to us then it was simply so many muti- 
neers the less to have to look after, and we were glad 
to see them thus summarily and rapidly disposed of. 
The bodies — portions only of some of them — were col- 
lected, thrust into a hole, and hastily covered over, and 
we returned to the camp. 

I may remark en passant that of the many executions 
I have witnessed I have never seeu one man who feared 
or shrank from death; in fact, most of them seemed 
rather to glory in it — the mode of death, apparently, being 
the all-absorbing question, not death itself. Thus, to 
die by being blown away from a gun, or shot by 
musketry, would be deemed honourable, and would be 
met without the slightest sign of fear. This callous- 
ness of death is the more remarkable, as the same man 
who would meet it so readily and cheerfully would not 
do so if he was sentenced to be hung; and he would 
probably bellow like a bull, and evince the greatest 
cowardice, if one but gave him a box on the ear. How 
this paradox is to be explained I have not the least idea — 
except in the case of hanging, which is a disgrace — and 
leave it to others to account for this singular combination 
of bravery and cowardice. 

Now one of our men, an Irishman named O'Neill (not 
the Pat 0*Niel of a former chapter), having an eye to 
business, had noticed that some of the executed men had 
jewellery on their persons. He had noticed, too, that 
this was buried with them ; and he conceived the 
design of enriching himself by unearthing the bodies and 



THE BBSURBECTIONIST. 181 

appropriating the jewellery for his own private benefit. 
He, therefore, procured a shovel, and about 11 o'clock 
that night he sallied out to the place where the bodies 
were buried. 

He soon discovered the grave, and at once set to work 
at removing the earth. He himself describes the night 
as *' a beautiful dark night wid just a slight taste of a 
moon hid behint the clouds." He toiled away at his horrible 
work, sweating at every pore ; not so much from the 
labour, though that must have been arduous, as from the 
** sort of dhread that was over me," as he expressed it. 
In spite of his " dhread " he soon got down to the bodies, 
and was about to pull one out of the confused heap, 
when he heard some heavy breathing behind him. 
He dropped the body in great trepidation, and, turning 
round in the direction of the sound, he saw a monster 
with a large horned head standing on the brink of the 
grave and looking down on him at his work. For the 
moment he firmly believed it was the devil who had come 
to witness his nefarious proceedings, and was terribly 
alarmed, or, as he says, " I felt as wake as wather." A 
little consideration and closer observation, however, as 
he grew bolder, convinced him that it was only a hackrie 
bullock. Recovering from his fright he again went on 
with his ghastly work, till, stamping by accident on the 
stomach of one of the corpses, it gave such an awful 
groan* that O'Neill clambered out of the grave and took 



* The man's own account ; such a circumstance is, I believe, easily- 
accounted for. 



182 SCRAPS FROM MT SABEETASCHE. 

his way back to his tent faster than he left it, giving 
over all thoughts of obtaining the jewellery he had so 
much coveted, and been at such trouble to obtain. As he 
said afterwards, '' I didn't so much mind the cow wid its 
horns, though that at first sthruck me all of a hape, but, 
bedad ! whin I hard the black divils benathe me com- 
mince to groan, I hopped out of the hole and was ofE like 
a * red-shank ! ' " It is needless to say that he was often 
afterwards roasted for his resurrectionist adventure. 



^ 



183 



CHAPTER XXV. 

EATGHUR. — SAUGOR. 

" A ETJPEB I knock that fellow out of the embrasure ! " 

Bang ! Off went the gun, pointed and fired by the 
individual who made the foregoing remark — or, rather, 
offered to make the above bet — and away went the shot 
plump into the embrasure, to the great admiration of the 
bystanders, and "that fellow" disappeared; whether 
"knocked out" by the shot, or anticipating such a pro- 
ceeding if he did not " clear out " of his own accord, and 
precipitately doing so for fear of that result, we had no 
means of ascertaining. 

Sergeant-Major Murphy was in command of the guns 
belonging to a " bullock battery " * of the Bhopal Con- 
tingent attached to our force ; and he took as much pride 
in those guns as if they beloi^ed to a crack battery of 
the R. A. He was proud of the guns ; of his men — even 

^ -..-^1- ■■.-■■,_■ , .■MM. , ■■■■-■ II ai^g, 

* Batteries in which guns, ammunition-waggons, &c. are drawn onlj 
by bnllocks ; these, from their size, strength, and docility, are often, 
in some cases, found to be more serviceable than horses, and are much 
cheaper, and giye less trouble. 



184 SCBAPS FROM MY SABEETASCHE. 

though thej were " onlj nagurs " ; of the verj bullocks ; 
but, above all, of his skill as a marksman. 

It was a treat to hear him stimulate his men on to 
increased work with such endearing expressions as, 
" Hoop ! Quick ! Go it, ye divils ! Home wid it, blast 
yez! or how the blazes do ye expect I can ever hit 
anything ! " His men worked away on such occasions 
with a rapidity and precision that were truly astonishing, 
and looked, stripped to the bufE as they were (it ought 
to be rather " stripped to the black "), very much like 
the " divils " they were styled by their affectionate 
commandant. 

Murphy would run from one gun to another as they 
were loaded, pointing them carefully himself, and, before 
firing, would kindly inform us what damage he was 
going to do. " Do ye see that pinnacle there ? Well ! 
I'm just going to knock it over"; and over went the 
object aimed at. " Now, look ! I 'm going to dhrop a 
shot among them spalpeens at that corner, and scatter 
'em." Scarcely would the words be out of his mouth 
when the " spalpeens " were scattered. In fact, so good a 
marksman was he, that the rebels in the fort soon found 
it out, and were very chary of exposing themselves on the 
battlements within range of his three guns. 

To account for the position we were now in, and the 
gunnery practice of the worthy Murphy, it is necessary I 
should " try back a bit." We had marched on to Ratghur 
a few days before, skirmishing as we drew near the fort, 
and losing one man after we had drawn up under its 
walls, by a shot from a matchlock fired from one of the 



KATGHUli. 185 

houses near. This poor fellow was the first man we lost, 
and his death left a widow in the regiment to mourn his 
loss, and get married again as soon as she posisibly could. 
There was a good deal of desultory popping going on, 
soon after we had pitched camp, and during the first 
portion of the night ; shots coming from the rebels con- 
cealed in the jungle near it. This was, however, eventually 
put a stop to, and those who were not on duty turned in 
and slept, confident of the vigilance of those who were 
on duty. 

The next day the fort was partially invested by some 
of our troops, while the remainder stayed in camp. I 
went out on picket near the fort, and really I quite 
enjoyed it. The weather was delightful ; we were located 
under some trees — always ready, man and horse, for what- 
ever might turn up. Our work was not very heavy ; it 
consisted principally in watching Murphy and his artillery 
practice ; lying down in the shade and smoking our pipes, 
or eating our meals ; varied now and then by going on 
sentry. In short, it was quite a pic-nic party for us, 
as the nature of the ground round the fort would not 
allow us to be of much service, beyond doing outlying 
pickets, &c. As for the infantry, they were at some other 
places, so I had no opportunity of observing them or 
their proceedings. 

On the 28th January the camp was attacked by the 
rebels ; these were held in check by the pickets till help 
came, when the rebels were driven back with the loss of 
a good many men. The fort was captured, most of the 
enemy having previously evacuated it. As I did not go 



186 SCRAPS FBOM MY SABBETASCHE. 

into its interior, I can form no idea of what it was like ; 
but, judging by its exterior, I should say that it would 
take a strong force to capture it if properly manned and 
defended. 

One of the Delhi princes — ^Fasil E[han, if I remember 
rightly — was captured in the jungle shortly afterwards 
under rather peculiar circumstances, which I will en- 
deavour to relate. He had escaped from the fort on one 
side while the other side was being attacked, and was 
hiding in the jungle waiting for a favourable opportunity 
to get clear away. This, considering his gorgeous apparel 
— which he had no means of changing — and the danger 
of falling into the hands of the Bohillas,* rendered the 
prospect of escape somewhat remote. 

While skulking about in the jungle, one of the coolies 
belonging to the hospital saw him, got into conversation 
with him, pretended a kindly interest in him, and, on the 
understanding that he should be handsomely rewarded, 
engaged to bring the prince a suit of common clothes in 



* It was generally b^lieyed that a large body of Rohillas were 
employed in connection with onr force, whose duty it was to form a 
cordon round the camp, and netting all stragglers who approached it 
(if rebels). These Rohillas were allowed five rupees for every head 
they brought into camp. Their spoils, in the shape of heads, were 
brought in every morning, and duly paid for. This was one way of 
catching all straggling rebels, and, no doubt, saved much harassing 
work for the pickets and videttes ; but it is probable also that some- 
times the head of a harmless villager was brought in for the sake of 
the five rupees, as I cannot see how the authorities could detect the 
difference between the head of a villager and that of a rebel. This 
system was said to be carried on, but whether it really was so I am 
not in a position to. say. 



RATGHUB. 187 

place of the handsome ones worn by him ; and, in 
addition, he undertook to supply the prince with a donkey, 
80 that he might pass off as a villager. All these arrange- 
ments having been satisfactorily settled, the coolie returned 
to camp, leaving the prince anxiously awaiting his return 
with the suit of clothes and the donkey. 

On reaching the camp, the coolie, thinking it might 
be more to his advantage to report the circumstance, did 
so. He was directed to keep his promise with the prince^ 
but at the same time a few of our men were also directed 
to accompany him a short distance in his rear. The 
coolie found the prince, who quickly put on the clothes 
provided for him in place of his own, mounted the 
donkey, and was led by his treacherous guide to the 
place where the dragoons were in waiting for him. He 
was made prisoner ; and, wearing the dirty clothes of a 
menial, and riding a donkey, the prince was safely con- 
ducted to the camp, where Sir Hugh Rose, after lecturing 
him a bit, ordered him to be hung over the gateway of 
the fort of which he had so recently been governor. He 
was at once marched off, and the sentence carried into 
effect. 

On the 31st the greater part of our force proceeded to 
Barodia, where we had an action with a large body of 
the rebels ; these we routed, and returned back to camp 
the same evening, somewhat tired with our day's work, 
but elated with our success. 

On our march to Barodia a circumstance occurred,, 
which, though apparently trifling in itself, gave us a high 
opinion of the personal courage of our leader. Sir Hugh 



188 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASOHE. 

Kose, and, perhaps, had more to do with his after suc- 
cesses than he or others may have imagined. I know it 
made me feel that I would follow him to the devil, if 
need be, and I know, also, it was the universal feeling of 
everyone under his command. 

He was riding with the advance-guard at the head of 
the column, which was at the time in the midst of a thick 
jungle, and he had gone so far to the front that he was 
passing the skirmishers thrown out to clear the front as 
well as the nature of the ground would allow, when the 
sergeant commanding them, seeing the probable danger 
he was in, said, respectfully, " Beg pardon. General, but 
you had better let us go first, in case any of the rebels 
should fire at you from the jungle." Sir Hugh at once 
replied, " Thank you, sergeant ; but I never want anyone 
to go in front of wie." This anecdote being repeated, 
convinced us of his daring, as his dealing with the muti- 
neers at Sehore, and the prince at Eatghur, did of his 
sternness and retributive severity. 

A few days after we marched into Saugor, and as we 
passed under the walls of the fort we were greeted by the 
ladies, who thronged the battlements, with the waving of 
hands and handkerchiefs (I will not be positive that they 
did not even cheer us), and our bosoms swelled with pride 
to think that our timely arrival had saved these, at least, 
from the clutches of the rebels. This was something to 
be proud of ; for the poor creatures had been shut up in 
the fort for some months, surrounded on all sides by 
mutineers, and during the whole of that time must have 
been a prey to the greatest anxiety as to what would be 



SAUGOE. 189 

their certain fate if no help came. Eatghur being only 
twentj-two miles distant, thej had heard our guns pound- 
ing away, and, no doubt, fervently prayed for our success. 
As soon as we had settled with the rebels in that neigh- 
bourhood — and we were obliged to clear them off as we 
went — ^they were gladdened by the sight of our force 
marching to their rescue. 

We had afterwards to avenge the deaths of those 
murdered at Jhansi and other places, and there was & 
stem pleasure in doing so, too ; but this was a greater 
pleasure, for we had arrived in time to save instead of 
to avenge, and had successfully effected the " Eelief of 
Saugor." 




190 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABRETASOHE. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

MALTONE. 

Pkbvious to quitting Saugor for Jhansi, whither we were 
ultimately bound, it was necessary that the country 
round about it should be thoroughly cleared of rebels, and 
detachments were sent out to several places in which 
were bodies of these worthies, for that purpose. 

A strong force under Sir Hugh Eose also marched on 
to a fort named Gurracotta ; this fort was in a very 
commanding position, and was manned by two complete 
regiments of Bengal mutineers (the 51st and 52nd), a 
large number of mutineers from other regiments, and cut- 
throats of ^very description and caste, so that we might 
expect some tough work. 

Our long and tedious march was made longer by the 
many delays on the road, as well as from having to pro- 
ceed very slowly, skirmishing a great part of the way, and 
halting occasionally to hang or shoot a few of the rebels. 
We reached the fort towards evening, tired as dogs, and 
opened on the place next morning. The mutineers replied 



MALTONE. 191 

with vigour, not only with their guns, but they actually 
made a rush for our guns. They went back, however, 
minus some of their number, quicker than they came. 
In this case, as at Eatghur, after blazing away at the 
fort for a couple of days, the enemy thought it best to 
flit, which process they speedily put into execution ; but 
did not get off scot free, for they were pursued, and a 
good many of them cut up by the Hyderabad Cavalry. 

Gurracotta was a very strong fort, an.d might safely have 
defied our force for a long time, had the rebels only had 
the pluck to remain and properly defend it. It was found 
to be well- stored with provisions, there being immense 
quantities of grain, flour, <&c., and a miscellaneous collec- 
tion of all sorts of loot, evidently derived from English 
sources, i.e. plundered from English houses. 

To prevent the rebels congregating there again, part of 
the walls were blown down ; the work of partially dis- 
mantling the fort being completed, we returned to Saugor, 
where we rested while the materiel requisite for our cam- 
paigning further north was being got together. Daring 
our stay, too, we made ourselves useful by hanging a few 
notorious characters up to dry, on one occasion five in 
a row. 

Early on the morning of the 27th we started for Jhansi. 
We had no sooner quitted the camp than notice was 
given by rockets being sent up from the city ; so that the 
rebels were informed of the exact time of our departure, 
and could take their measures accordingly. 

The next morning, when we started, the same process 
was repeated, and beacon fires were lighted at intervals 



192 SCRAPS FROM MT SABRETASCHE. 

on both sides of our line of march till daylight, which 
showed that we were pretty carefully watched, and the 
enemy could make no mistake as to our whereabouts. 
This must have been annoying to the General, but there 
was no help for it. Several of the parties who lighted 
the beacons were captured by our men, but they put on 
an air of simplicity and made excuses which seemed to 
satisfy the authorities — at any rate they did not hang 
them — though if the men had been left to their own 
resources the wretches would have had but short shift. 

On the 3rd of March the main body of our force, under 
Sir Hugh Rose, had a severe encounter with the enemy 
at Mudanpore Pass, in which they, lost a great many 
men, and out of which we did not come entirely scathe- 
less, several being killed and wounded, and the Greneral 
having his horse shot under him. It was, however, a 
most dashing affair, the General routing the enemy, 
forcing the pass, and achieving a brilliant victory over 
them. 

On this occasion a portion of the force in which I 
was, under Major Scudamore, was detached from the 
main body, and ordered to proceed to a place called 
Maltone, to prevent the mutineers from escaping in that 
direction ; but, excepting a few shots fired at us from 
some hills covered with jungle on our right, it was 
nothing more to us than a common march ; though, no 
doubt, our movement had the effect intended, keeping 
the rebels in the bounds prescribed by the General for 
them. We encamped at Maltone, left a few mementoes 
of our having been there hanging on trees, and the 



SPIES. 193 

next day marched to join the other portion of the troops 
under Sir Hugh Eose. 

Late at night, while at Maltone, two spies were caught 
in our camp, these were handed over to the rear-guard, 
of which I was corporal ; and they were entrusted to me 
with strict injunctions not to let them escape on the road. 

There was not much danger of that; I planted the 
two spies between a file of the guard, with orders to knock 
them over if they attempted to escape, and I myself rode 
in rear of them with the same amiable intention. 

One of the spies was a powerful, brawny-looking 
fellow with a villainous aspect, and a cunning leer of 
the eye ; one who would evidently not stick at trifles, 
and who would be an awkward customer in an encounter. 
He had the shaven head of a priest, but'he did not look 
it by any means. By the squareness of his shoulders, 
expanded chest, and upright gait, I should say he had 
been a sepoy, whatever he was now, spy, sepoy, bud- 
mash, or priest. The other prisoner was quite a lad, 
with nothing remarkable about him, except that he was 
perpetually glancing round furtively, as if he expected 
to see some one, and was annoyed at the non-appearance. 
This conduct I put down as suspicious-looking. 

We jogged along at the rear of the column for some 
time, when I perceived that we had gradually and im- 
perceptibly increased our distance from the main body, 
till we were, as the sailors have it, "a long way astern." 
I at once ordered the men to close up by increasing the 
pace ; but, no ; the more I tried to hurry them on, the 
more the infernal priest seemed determined to lag behind, 

13 



194 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

I could plainly see there was nothing to prevent him? 
from keeping up with the column, for he was young, 
strong, and fresh ; so that, unless he purposely lagged, 
in hopes of getting so far in the rear that we might 
perhaps be cut off, I could conceive no other reason for 
it. After a while, finding words were only thrown away 
on this individual, I touched him up in a fleshy part 
with the point of my sword, just to liven him up a bit 
and spur him on to an increased pace. 

It was worth a trifle to hear the yell he gave on 
receiving this piece of attention, and the look of rage 
and hatred he favoured me with, as he darted off at 
an increased rate of speed for a short time. He, how- 
ever, soon forgot his " pricking up," and reverted to his 
former dawdling pace. As nothing would induce him 
to hurry up, and as he appeared bent on getting us as 
far as possible in the rear; irritated at finding neither 
words nor grass were of any avail, I tried to force him 
along faster by keeping my horse close to his heels. 

The horse, as if annoyed at being forced into such 
close proximity with a spy, commenced being restive, and 
ended in going though a series of buck-leapings, <&c. ; in 
one of his plunges he knocked the man down, and fairly 
stamped the life out of him, for in less than five minutes 
the fellow was dead ; spitting up at me and cursing me 
with his last breath. 

This put a stop to his going on altogether; first 
making sure, however, that he was really dead, I again 
started off with the remaining prisoner, who ran like a 
greyhound, after witnessing the fate of the priest, and 



SPIES. 195 

we were not long before we caught up the main body 
again. 

When we got into camp, of course, I reported the 
circumstance of the death of the spy, relating the par- 
ticulars, and received the usual reply, "Very good," 
T handed over the other prisoner to the relieving guard, 
and never saw any more of him, nor did I hear any more 
inquiries concerning the villainous-looking priest. 

On the 7th we marched into Murrowra, a large town 
belonging to the Eajah of Shahgur, whose state was here 
annexed on account of his recent complicity with the 
rebels in their fighting against us. It was a pleasant 
sight to see the British flag run up over his fort, and 
hear, in that out-of-the-way place, the different bands 
strike up the national anthem. No Englishman, who has 
not heard that soul-stirring strain in far distant lands, or 
under similar circumstances, can imagine the effect it has 
on one's mind, bringing every patriotic feeling into play ; 
home, country, friends, come vividly before one in the 
first burst of that glorious music, and everyone ferventlj 
echoes the words of that melodious prayer, " God save 
the Queen ! " 

On we marched (occasionally hanging a few of the rebels 
by the way), the heat daily increasing, till we came to 
a place called Chuchunpore, distant from Jhansi about 
eight miles. Here the force halted, and after resting 
two or three hours we (the cavalry), the horse artillery, 
and light field pieces, under Brigadier Steuart, were 
ordered to advance on Jhansi, which we did through a 
blazing sun, and bivouacked about two miles from the 

13 • 



196 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

city, being welcomed with some long shots from the 
batteries, which, however, at that distance, did no harm. 
The next day (the 2l8fc March) the main body, under Sir 
Hugh Eose, arrived. He at once proceeded to recon- 
noitre the place previous to investing it. 

I believe there was not a man of us — as we contem- 
plated this stronghold of villainy where so many of our 
countrymen and women had been butchered under such 
awful circumstances — who did not thirst for the time to 
come when he could take vengeance on their murderers, 
and who did not inwardly register a vow to do his best 
to avenge their unhappy fate. I know I did. 



i 



197 



CHAPTER XXVIL 

JHANST. — NO QUARTER. 

I AM not sufficiently well up in the topography of the 
suburbs of Jhansi to be able confidently to state the 
precise spot in which my troop was posted in the invest- 
ment of the city ; nor have I the remotest idea where the 
other portions of the troops were placed, beyond such 
vague directions as the right or left attack. Suffice it, 
that we found ourselves located somewhere about a mile 
from the city walls ; and that between us and them were 
some very pleasant, cool-looking gardens, which formed 
an agreeable shade to, and a convenient lurking place for 
the rebels to fire at us from, and into which some of us 
occasionally went to do a bit of skirmishing, and either 
kill them or drive them out. 

My troop, the K, under Captain Brown, numbered about 
sixty men ; we were expected to cover a certain portion 
of the city, to see that none escaped ; or to turn out at 
any moment and on any emergency. Consequently, we 
were never out of harness ; sleeping in front of our horses, 



198 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

which were always ready saddled and bridled — never 
having the bits taken out of their mouths, night or day, 
except a few at a time for feeding purposes, or to give 
them a drink in comfort ; so that it came harder on the 
horses than it did on us. 

As for ourselves, I don't think we were able to change 
our clothes, or have a wash, for about a fortnight, and it 
may be imagined that we were rather dirty, and that a 
bath would have done the whole of us good ; but we 
couldn't even peel off to wash our faces, to say nothing 
of the elaborate luxury of a bath. As the old soldier 
remarked in a previous chapter, we were "as black as 
buck-sweeps" (whoever or whatever they may be). Yet, 
somehow, in spite of this and the dreadful heat, none of 
us fell sick, and all of us seemed to enjoy the life we 
led. I know I did, heartily, and should have enjoyed 
it infinitely more if I could have bathed daily. 

In the daytime, lounging about in the lines near our 
horses was varied by an occasional hurried turn out, or a 
skirmish in the gardens ; and it was worth the chance of 
a stray shot, to ride under those shady trees, or catch 
glimpses of our sunburnt faces and rough appearance in 
the crystal waters of some miniature lake, which one 
could fancy was the bathing-place of houris. I have 
often thought how delicious it would be to have a swim 
there; but in general we were too much occupied in 
"potting" and "sticking" to think much of houris 
bathing, or the beauties of scenery. 

Six privates and myself had gone down there one day 
in charge of a young Irish officer of my troop, named 



NO QUARTEK. 199 

Beamisli, and had caught a party of sepoys in a small 
building. They had retreated up a narrow staircase, 
which was only wide enough for one to go up at a 
time, and could easily have kept us at bay if they had 
not been apparently panic-struck at our appearance. We 
had all dismounted, and our leader was soon busily 
^engaged pulling the sepoys one by one down the stairs 
by their " hind-legs " (as a comrade observed), and hand- 
ing them over to our tender mercies. This amusement 
highly delighted Cornet Beamish, who, when he had 
finished, declared it was much better fun than " drawing 
badgers." 

This business being over, we mounted, and were retiring 
from the gardens, when a shot was fired at us from the 
branches of a large tree under which we were passing, 
fortunately without hitting anyone. On looking up, we 
saw upwards of twenty armed rebels in the trees, whom 
we should have entirely overlooked but for that shot. 
We at once dismounted, and set to work at potting them. 
This was capital sport — better even than " drawing 
badgers " — for they could not get away, even if they 
wished it ever so ; and if one was missed by accident, he 
was " still to the good," perched on branch, for another 
shot. One by one, our human game came down to the 
ground with an awful thud; and if they were only 
wounded with the shot, the fall from the tree was 
quite enough to settle them, without any more of our 
assistance. 

I had just fired my carbine and brought down a 
Btalwart sepoy, when another of the " birds," unperceived 



200 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASCHE. 

by me, slid down a tree, and rushed at me with his drawn 
sword. My carbine was discharged; I should not have 
time to throw it down and draw my sword ; so I made 
the best of it; faced him with my empty carbine, and 
easily parrying his blow, dealt him one in turn with it, 
driving the hammer right into his temple, at the same 
time snapping the stock of my weapon off with the force 
of the blow. My shooting was thus put a stop to, but I 
deterDiined I would get another fire-arm before I left, and 
eventually I secured a blunderbuss which had been pomted 
at me — and which, luckily, missed fire — containing about 
a quart of bullets; this I took home in triumph, as a 
substitute for my broken carbine. 

I had an old ghora-walla who particularly delighted in 
this sort of work ; and who, I believe, would have gone 
through fire and water to serve me — perhaps his own 
interests as well. At any rate, I found him of great 
service in many ways. For instance, he had managed to 
loot a couple of milch cows, and always before the reveille 
sounded at morning, on the line of march, he would 
bring me a jamhu of warm milk and a chupattie. He 
used to ride one of these cows and lead the other, and if 
not another ghora-walla was up when we reached camp, 
after a long march, my old fellow was sure to be there to 
take the horse the moment I stepped out of the saddle. 
This in itself was a great consideration, for it is not an 
agreeable thing to have to wait for one's ghora-walla, as 
anyone who has been on the line of march in India 
knows. 

The old fellow used to like following me when we 



NO QUARTER. 201 

went into these garden skirmislies; and if I knocked 
over a rebel — wounding him only — he made no bones of 
finishing him off bj inserting his long knife in the 
fellow's ribs ; at the same time rifling him of anything he 
had on his person. The proceeds of his looting he used 
fairly to divide with me ; often bringing me, as my share, 
gold mohurSf ornaments, <&c. It was a great advantage to 
me to have so ready a follower ; for if — as occurred often 
— we had to skirmish on foot, he was always there to 
take charge of the horse.* 

At nights, in addition to the usual sentries and videttes, 
perhaps a couple of dismounted parties, of six men each, 
and each party commanded by a corporal, would be placed 
in ambush, to cut off anyone attempting to escape from 
the city. This duty would be carried out so effectively 
that the guards, videttes, and ambush parties — generally 
numbering only twenty or so — ^would, in one night, show 
two or three hundred bodies as the result of their night's 
work. I would defy a cat to pass where we were. All the 
men used to like this sort of work, as there were some 
very nice pickings to be made — everyone endeavouring 
to escape from the city always carrying all the money 
and valuables they possibly could. 

I will try to give an idea how these ambushes, &c. were 
conducted. In the lines sentries were always posted; 



* The captain afterwards took a fancy to the old fellow through 
seeing how carefully he attended me, and took him from me to be his 
groom, but the obstinate old man would not serve the captain as well 
as he had served me ; and the captain pronounced him a stupid, and 
dismissed him, forbidding him to come near the lines. 



202 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

near to the gardens a line of mounted videttes were 
placed; these either remained stationary, or each one 
rode alternately to his right or left-hand man, as the 
case might be during the night ; relieved, of course, at 
two-hour intervals, and visited often. On each flank of 
these was the dismounted ambush, carefully concealed 
behind bushes or stones. These would listen intently for 
every sound that came from the direction of the city. 
By and by a party from thence would be heard stealthily 
approaching ; these would be allowed to advance without 
interruption till sufficiently near to make sure of them, 
when the ambush would give them the contents of the 
carbines, and rush out on them sword in hand, and those 
who were not knocked over in the discharge, would either 
fight or bolt, as the case might be. 

This performance might possibly be repeated several 
times during the night ; and sometimes as many as fifty 
would come at the same time. . This, however, made no 
•difference to us, we attacked them all the same, and 
invariably got the best of it — as we had the advantage of 
them in being prepared, if they had the advantage of us 
in numbers. 

Sometimes they fought very fiercely, and with all the 
energy of despair, and there was quite a miniature battle 
going on ; cutting, slashing, firing, shouting — quite a 
hubbub. Some of our fellows got very nasty sword-cuts 
in these night encounters ; for it is awkward work — in 
spite of any amount of skill one may possess with the 
sword — to be able to guard one's self with any degree of 
certainty, from such indiscriminate slashing and thrusting 




NO QUABTEE. 203 

in the dark. Those we killed during the night were 
collected in the morning, and burnt to prevent any un- 
pleasantness arising by letting the bodies lie and get 
putrid. 

While besieging Jhansi, and during the whole of our 
operations there, we had orders to take no prisoners — 
in other words, to give no quarter, to kill every man 
coming from the city. At any rate, if this order was 
not actually issued through the proper channels, it reached 
us by other means, and was acted on and carried out to 
the fullest extent. Consequently, independent of our 
desire to have vengeance on the murderers of our 
people, we were not hindered by red-tape from follow- 
ing our inclinations that way; and we were not very 
particular as to when, where, or how we killed all we 
could lay hands on. 

One day some of the men caught a priest wandering 
about, and, by way of a change, determined to try him 
by a " private court-martial." This was very soon as- 
sembled, and, after doing a little in the "Judge and 
Jury " line, the priest was sentenced to be hung. He 
was forthwith dragged to the end of the horse-lines, 
where there was a very convenient tree, " built expressly 
for a gallows," as one of the men facetiously remarked. 

One of the horses' head-ropes was speedily placed 
round the victim's neck, and he was hauled up into the 
tree. It took the poor wretch a long time to die, he 
not having had the advantage of a " drop " ; this was 
soon rectified by one of the men climbing the tree, 
sliding down the rope, and dropping on the victim's 



204 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABRETASCHE. 

shoulders, which effectually stretched his neck and put 
him out of his sufferings. They then left the man 
hanging there, aind retired to the tents, or in front of 
their horses, where they soon forgot the revolting tragedy 
they had been engaged in. 

One of the men, however, thought he would hoax the 
man who had finished the scene by sitting on the hang- 
ing man's shoulders; so, when he saw the coast clear, 
he cut the corpse down, and, the body being yet limp, he 
placed it in a sitting posture at the foot of the tree 
with its hand to its head, as if scratching it, or as if he 
was in a " brown study." He then rushed off to the 
executioner, exclaiming, ** I say, Blinkee ! " (the man's 
nickname) I 'm blest if the old priest you hung hasn't 
got down out of the tree, and he 's sitting at the foot of 
it, scratching his head." 

" Well, I 'm damn'd ! " cried BUnkee, " I '11 soon make 
him scratch his head, to some purpose too ! " and seizing 
hold of a tent-peg, he rushed off and gave the corpse a 
tremendous blow on the head with it before he perceived 
the hoax that had been played on him. 

To most readers this scene will appear brutal and 
revolting, and it would have appeared so to us under 
other circumstances ; but the reader must bear in mind 
what had recently occurred to our countrywomen in this 
very place, the awful accounts we had heard of what 
they had had to put up with before their deaths — of the 
manner in which they were finally butchered — of what 
we had ourselves actually seen — and the surprize will 
cease; or, rather, the wonder is that those we caught 



NO QUAETEB. 205 

i^ere not treated worse in the desire of gratifying our 
vengeance.* 

Lest the reader should imagine the above description 
to be somewhat overdrawn, it is only necessary to say 
that we were placed in a capital position ; that immense 
numbers, anticipating the fate of the city, nightly tried 
to escape, and were stojp'ped. Some men of my troop 
could boast of having killed several hundreds, and (I 
say it with great modesty) I killed many more than 
one hundred myself during our operations before Jhansi. 
It must be borne in mind, too, that no quarter was to be 
given, and I don't think many of the men did give much. 

The last few words in the previous chapter were " I 
know I did '*; the last words of this shall^be, in allusion to 
giving no quarter, — ^I know I didn't. 

* A good many rebels were executed at Jhansi ; some who had 
given themselves np, expecting pardon if they gave all the informa- 
tion they could to Sir Hugh Rose. They were disappointed. A story 
is told of one who gave himself up, and described the massacre of the 
British residents, and the atrocities perpetrated on the unfortunate 
women. Sir Hugh Ro^e is said to have listened patiently till the man 
had finished, when he inquired, " And you witnessed aU this ? '' The 
mdn replied that he had. Sir Hugh at once called for the provost- 
marshal, exclaiming, " Take him away, and hang him like a dog ! No 
Indian shall live to say he saw an Englishwoman dishonoured and 
murdered.*' 



206 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 



CHAPTER XXVIIL 

IN A SCRAPE, AND OUT OP ONE. 

In the preceding chapter I liave necessarily confined 
myself to what concerned my own troop only, or came 
under my actual observation. Our sphere of action 
was, however, very limited, and things were hourly oc- 
curring at other places of which we had not the slightest 
cognizance. For all we knew of what was going on 
around us, we might almost as well have been at the 
antipodes. People who have never left their own country, 
through the medium of newspapers, often are more 
familiar with the particulars of a siege or battle than 
those actually engaged in them. 

All we knew then, beyond our own little skirmishes, 
was that there was an incessant pounding going on 
day and night in all directions— our side shelling and 
breaching, their side answering us and repairing as well 
as they could the damage done by our shot. 

The shells must have created great havoc in the city,* 

* The city contained about 12,000 troops (rebels), and the 
number of inhabitants would probably not be oyer-estimated at 



IN A SCRAPE. 207 

killing numbers of the rebels, to say nothing of the red* 
hot shot with which they were regularly supplied, and 
which now and then fulfilled their mission by setting fire 
to buildings of various kinds, the smoke and flames of 
which ascending above the walls of the city testified to 
the effect our firing produced. 

The inhabitants must have had a wai*m time of it, and it 
is not to be wondered at that they attempted to get out of 
it ; only, as far as concerned us, they invariably illustrated 
the old proverb of " jumping out of the frying-pan inta 
the fire " — this they did literally, for their bodies were 
burnt every moniing. 

About this time we shifted our position, and the 
disposition of the troops was materially altered ; for in- 
formation reached the General of a large army of rebels, 
under Tantia Topi, coming to attack us, and, of course, 
rout us, and raise the siege. This advancing army was 
the same force that had caught General Wyndham, of 
Eedan notoriety, napping, and given him such a lesson 
in Indian warfare. But they were not going to catch us 
that way; nor did Sir Hugh Eose intend they should 
raise the siege either; but, I suppose, the anticipated 
arrival of this force necessitated some alteration in the 
disposition of our troops round the beleaguered city, in 
order to prepare for and ensure them a warm reception. 

At night I was corporal of the outlying picket, imme^ 

100,000. Considering that this was a "native state," where the 
majority know something about arms, and that great numbers would 
probably use them, some idea may be formed of what we had to con 
tend against, our force being about 5,000 of all arms. 



208 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASOHE. 

diately connected with the portion of the force in which I 
was, and it was my duty, alternately with the sergeant, 
who belonged to another troop, to visit or relieve the 
videttes during the night, and to take them off at dawn. 
It fell to my lot to have to do the latter ; but the 
sergeant who made the last round of visiting the videttes, 
just before daybreak, and who ought to have roused me, 
neglected to do so, as we had mutually done to each 
other during the night, forgetting all about it, and, 
lying down in front of his horse, soon dropped off to 
sleep — for it did not, in our cases, take long to perform 
that pleasant operation. 

Not being roused, I slept the " sleep of the tired," 
till the sun was quite up in the heavens ; when I woke 
up of my own accord, rubbed my eyes, stared round, 
and, in a moment, not only was wide awake, but was 
also awake to the fact that, by over-sleeping myself, I 
had kept the videttes on an hour after dawn, and had 
unwittingly committed a very grave military crime.* 

I immediately jumped on my horse, and trotted off to 
bring them in, explaining to each of them in turn the 
reason I had kept them on so late. All were satisfied 
with my explanation except one man, who, when I 
came up to him, pulled out his watch to time me, remark- 
ing that I had kept him on duty an hour too long, and 
that he should report me for doing so. Irritated at this, 

* Videttes should always be brought in at the first break of day 
for various reasons; but chiefly, that the enemy should not know 
precisely where they are posted during the night, which they would 
if the men remained on after daylight. 



IN A SCRAPE. 209 

when I knew it was no fault of mine, but of his own 
sergeant — for the man belonged to the sergeant's troop — 
I told him not to talk of reporting me, but to do it when 
we got back to the lines, and that I would myself take 
him before the adjutant to enable him to do so.* 

After picking up all the men, we rode into the lines, 
where, seeing the adjutant, I remarked to the man that 
he could now report me if he wished ; as he did wish to 
do so, I conducted him before the adjutant, and told him 
the man wished to make a report against me. The 
adjutant inquired of the man what it was, and on being 
told it was for keeping him an hour longer on his post 
than he ought to have been, the adjutant had no other 
alternative than to place me under arrest ; he, therefore, 
without more ado, ordered me to mj tent, a prisoner. 

I dismounted, and travelled off into my teot, very 
much annoyed at the circumstance, but soou did my best 
to forget all about it in sleep, and succeeded admirably. 
Towards evening, however, things began to assume a 
different aspect ; a good deal of buzzing seemed to be 
going on in the lines, and there was the unmistakable 
sign of preparing for something. The men and horses 
were all in readiness, I could perceive, for a sudden turn 
out ; for the army of rebels was advancing on to Jhansi, 
and might come at any moment, and when they did come 
there was sure to be some fighting going on ; while I at 

* It is a rule in the service not to threaten ; if a man considers him- 
self hardly dealt by, he can always report the circumstance without 
talking about it ; or if a man commits an offence, a non-commissioned 
officer should not threaten to send him to the guard-room, but do it. 

14 



210 SOHAPS FROM MY SABRETASOHB. 

the same time should be cooped up in a tent, a prisoner, 
and out of all the fun of it. 

I spoke to the sergeant-major about it, requesting him 
to see the captain, and get him to exert his influence with 
the colonel to settle mj case summarily, so that I might 
be released ; but I was told that the colonel couldn't be 
bothered at a time like this, and that I should have to 
remain a prisoner till the expected fighting was over. 

Not if I knew it, however. I would have been " all 
there," even if I had to break my arrest again, of that I 
fully made up my mind. I wouldn't have it thrown up 
to me, hereafter, that I was absent from a " go-in " 
through being a prisoner. I, therefore, ordered the old 
ghora- walla to have my horse ready and my weapons in 
the lines at his head ; and I myself remained dressed, 
ready for anything that might turn up. 

The troops were just then ** falling in," and I was 
standing at the door of the tent, staring at them, and 
ruefully cogitating what I should do, when I saw the 
Colonel walking backwards and forwards at the head of 
the lines. A bright idea struck me. Why shouldn't I 
make a direct appeal to the colonel ? I couldn't be much 
worse off than I was at present. I no sooner thought of 
this plan than I proceeded to carry it out. Eegardless, 
therefore, of military etiquette, or of breaking my arrest 
— for it was neither more nor less — and, reckless of con- 
sequences, I immediately went up to the colonel, saluted 
him, and stood before him as if wishing to address 
him. 

Colonel Scudamore, who was considered a very stern 



OUT OF A SOEAPE. 211 

man and a strict disciplinarian, stared at me, and then 
abruptly inquired : 

" Well, what do you want ? " 

This did not look very favourable ; but I began, " Beg 
pardon, Colonel, I 'm a prisoner " 

" What the devil are you doing here, then ? " inter- 
rupted he. After a pause, he said sharply, " What have 
you done ? " 

I then briefly related the circumstance of my arrest, 
and begged him to release me, so that I might be present 
at the anticipated engagement, as I should not like to be 
absent from it by being left in camp at a time like this. 

** That 's all very well," again interrupted he ; " but if I 
release you now, I may not be able to catch you again, 
and you *11 escape your punishment." 

I told him, when the affair was over, if I lived, I would 
willingly consider myself still a prisoner, and receive any 
punishment he might award me ; that I did not wish him 
to release me now to escape merited punishment, but that 
I should not like to be absent when an engagement was 
taking place, as I should not only be laughed at by my 
comrades, but it would tell against my future promotion, 
as perhaps some commanding officer, on looking over the 
Defaulters* Book, might fancy I shirked out of my duty 
on such an occasion as the present. 

I could see by an almost imperceptible smile twitching 
about the colonel's mouth, when I told him I would 
come back to receive my punishment, that he was not 
angry ; indeed, I fancied that he seemed to approve of 
what I had done by coming to him in the manner I 

14* 



212 SCBAPS FROM MY SABRETASCUB. 

had, though he could not, of course, express his approval. 
It was evident he did not think any the worse of me, for, 
turning awaj, he said sharply, " That '11 do, you 're 
released." 

I saluted, and hurried back to the lines as happy as 
possible in my suddenly acquired liberty, hastily put on 
my belts and arms, mounted my horse, and took my place 
in the ranks, to the infinite surprise of the sergeant-major, 
who thought I ought to have been snug in my tent, and 
who rode up to me demanding what I was doing there 
on parade. 

" I 'm released, sergeant-major," replied I. 
By whose order ? " inquired he, doubtingly. 
By Colonel Scudamore's." 

'* Oh ! I must ascertain about that," exclaimed he. I 
suppose he did made inquiides about it, and found it all 
correct ; for I never heard any more of the matter, and 
the case was, I believe, never entered in the Defaulters' 
Book. 

This little adventure, so far from doing me any injury, 
was rather of service to me; for it gave the colonel a 
good opinion of 'me, that I wasn't one who would willingly 
be absent when the services of every available fighting 
man were so much needed. 






213 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

THE BATTLE OF BETWA. 

■ 

I WAS not sufficiently in the confidence of Sir Hugh 
Eose to be able to get a sight of the plan of the battle 
of the Betwa; so in a strategic point of view it would 
be simply absurd in me to attempt to describe it, except 
in the crudest and roughest manner, as can only be 
expected from one in my position. 

We had stood to our arms the whole of the night, 
with the enemy very close to us, so close that we could 
see their fires burning and hear the usual camp noises ; 
in some places, it is said that the rebels taunted our 
men, threatening what they would do on the morrow, so 
it is evident they were confident of success. 

As well as I could make out, the General's arrange- 
ments were as follows: — Brigadier Stuart was sent to 
our left with a small force to attack the enemy in flank, 
or prevent them from making a flank movement and 
entering the city ; while Sir Hugh Eose with our main 
body was to oppose that of the rebels, which out- 



214 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

numbered us as much as twenty to one,* and were 
stronger than us in guns. 

The different troops engaged in the investment of the 
city remained as they were, and were to keep the rebels 
in the city from sallying out to attack us in rear, or 
joining their comrades who were coming to their relief, 
and vice versa. To carry out ihis amiable purpose, guns 
loaded with canister were placed so as to sweep all the 
approaches from and to the city. 

At day -break our guns opened fire on the enemy, 
which they returned with interest, and there was such 
blazing away that it seemed to shake the very ground 
beneath us. We could, when there was a bit of a lull 
in the firing, just to let the smoke rise, hear the boom- 
ing of guns, too, in the direction of the city, and could 
fancy our comrades were all employed there. Occasion- 
ally there was heard the yells of triumph coming from 
the devils in the city, in anticipation of our certain over- 
throw—so they thought — and I must confess we (the 
men) fancied things looked very black against us ; but 
we had every confidence in our leader, and were not 
going to be easily beaten, in spite of numbers or 
appearances. 

Could anyone have taken a bird's-eye view of us on 
that morning,t it must have been a glorious sight. 



* Our force opposed to the enemy nombered about 1,200; the 
enemy numbered about 25,000. 

f The man in charge of the telegraph on the top of a high hill in 
the neighbourhood of the battle, and between the battle-field and the 
city, must have had a capital view; at the conmiencement of the 



THE BATTLE OP BBTWA. 215 

Actually three battles going on at one time. We, under 
Sir Hugh Rose, with our small force fighting twenty 
times our number, charging again and again, through 
the blazing jungle too (for the enemy had set fire to 
it, thinking by that means to cover their retreat and to 
check us, so that it was literally and truly warm work) ; 
Brigadier Stuart, on our left, fighting and routing his 
lot; and Colonel Gall with his guns hammering away 
at the city, which seemed like a veritable hell peopled 
with yelling incarnate fiends who vomited forth fire and 
flames. 

I know we all thought, at one time, when Sir Hugh 
put himself at the head of a squadron of ours and led 
the charge himself, that even he fancied things looked 
doubtful; and that if he was to be overpowered by 
numbers he would at least die a glorious death, at the 
head of his troops in a charge ! I know, too, that those 
he led thought he was only leading them to certain 
death ; but they felt proud at going to death in such 
•company.* It was a glorious sight to see them thunder- 
ing along headed by the General and Captain Prette- 
john, the latter of whom was bare-headed, and who 
fought and shouted like a demon ; one minute, and they 

battle we -were on the side of the hill nearest the city, with orders to 
keep our position there; but the telegraph-man, by shouting and 
frantic signs, indicated that a portion of the rebels were coming oyer 
a gap of the hill, when, though against orders, the captain led us 
over the hill just in time to stop them from breaking through and 
getting behind our pickets round the city; this was thought a 
•capital movement. 
* Captain Prettejohn. 



216 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRKTASCHE. 

were among the enemy, and all that was to be seen was 
a confused mass of flashing swords and bayonets, strug- 
gling men and horses, and hoarse shouts of rage. From 
this seething struggling mass our men emerged victorious, 
for the result of the charge showed that an act of 
daring and personal bravery on the part of a leader (an 
act not often done — a commander-in-chief to lead a 
charge) will sometimes change defeat into victory, as it 
did in this case. 

The rebels were thoroughly routed in this charge, and 
turned and fled; were rallied, formed up again, to be 
again charged and routed ; and yet again, only to undergo 
the same infliction, losing all their guns,* and finally 
bolting in the greatest confusion, pursued by our men, 
who cut up great numbers of them, stopping only at 
the river Betwa from sheer exhaustion. 

Numbers of the enemy who escaped our swords were 
drowned in attempting to cross the river ; the whole of 
the ground passed over by our men was strewed with 
the bodies of the enemy ; and at the lowest estimate it 
was calculated that 1,500 of them must have been slain, 
and no doubt the wounded were at least as many more. 

Our cavalry and artillery bore the brunt of this severe 
engagement, my regiment suffering the most, from the 
nature of the conflict being a succession of charges and 
hand-to-hand fights. The troops returned to camp 
pretty tired with their day's work, but highly delighted 
at having achieved so brilliant a victory over their 
vaunting foes. 

* Some of the guns had the name " Wyndham " painted on them. 



THE BATTLE OF BETWA. 217 

It may not be inappropriate to insert the telegram Sir 
Hugh Bioae forwarded to Government after the battle 
in this place ; it may, in its very brevity, give a better 
idea of things than my rambling description (indeed the 
chapter would not be complete without it). It runs 
thus : — 

" This morning, at daybreak, the force under my 
orders fought a general action with the so-called Peishwa's 
army, and, by the blessing of God, gained a complete 
victory. The rebels are stated to have numbered from 
20,000 to 25,000 men ; they were under Tantia Topee, 
Nana Sahib's relative, and their object was to relieve 
Jhansi. I did not discontinue the siege nor investment 
of Jhansi, consequently the force with which I fought was 
extremely weak. The rebels, amongst whom were the 
Grenadier regiment and another regiment of the Gwalior 
Contingeot, fought, except the cavalry, desperately ; but I 
turned their left flank with artillerv and cavalrv, and, 
after making two stands, they broke and fled, defending 
themselves individually to the last. I pursued them to 
the river Betwa, taking all their guns, eighteen in 
number, and an English 18-pounder of the Gwalior Con- 
tingent, drawn by two elephants, an 8-inch mort-ar, and 
quantities of ammunition, including shells, 18-pounder 
shot, ordnance park, and two more elephants. Two 
standards were also taken. The enemy tried to stop our 
pursuit by setting the jungle on fire, but nothing could 
check the ardour of the artillery and cavalry, who galloped 
in pursuit across the country in flames. I cannot calculate 
at present the enemy's loss in killed ; but it must have 




218 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASOHB. 

been very great» as the country is strewed with dead 
bodies, chiefly those of sepoys. As I now shall be free 
from the attacks of a numerous attacking army, I hope 
to conclude speedily the siege of Jhansi." 



219 



CHAPTER XXX. 

THE FALL OF JHANSl. 

I COULD not give an accurate account of the storming 
and capture of Jhansi, even if I wished to do so, as I had 
not the honour of being one of the stormers ; it is, there- 
fore, beyond my power, and it would be absurd were I 
to attempt anything like an elaborate description of it. 
Contenting myself, therefore, with merely a brief allusion 
to it, I must confine my remarks to delineating, as well as 
I can, what came under my own observation. 

Suffice it to say that the infantry stormed and took the 
-city on the morning of the 3rd of April, after some very 
hard fighting, and the loss of a great many men — the 
86th in particular suffering severely, every officer, except- 
ing one, being either killed or wounded, and upwards of 
200 men rendered hors-de-combat — so that there must 
have been sharp work going on. Although the city was 
taken on the day of the storming, street-fighting was 
kept up for three or four days, after which the city might 
safely be considered ours.* 

* The number of natives killed in the city is estimated, variously, 
at from 3,000 to 6,000. I don't suppose ihe latter number was far 
out, when one considers the indiscriminate slaughter which took place, 
and that no quarter was given. 



220 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABRETASCHE. 

Luckily for our force, the enemy evacuated the fort 
after the city was taken, as it would have cost much time 
and the loss of many men to reduce it. As regards its 
strength, Sir Hugh Kose in a telegram observes : 

'' Jhansi is not a fort, but its strength makes it a 
fortress ; it could not have been breached, and could only 
have been taken by mining and blowing up one bastion 
after another." 

Another writer observes : 

"The position was strong, the town having a good 
wall* mounted by many guns ; above the town, and con- 
stituting a separate and very formidable point of defence,, 
frowned the huge castellated palace of the former rajahs." 
The reader is recommended to read the glowing descrip- 
tion of the storming and capture of Jhansi in the pages 
of " The History of the Indian Mutiny."* 

On the night of the attack, the Ranee made her escape 
from the city on horseback, with about 2,000 followers, 
and fled in the direction of Jaloun, though how she 
managed to pass the pickets was a mystery. She was 
pursued for a long distance, but succeeded in getting 
away, with the loss of about two hundred of her escort,, 
who were cut up by our men. 

The Eanee is described as being a very handsome 
woman about 24 years of age, of a licentious disposition,, 
selecting her lovers indiscriminately from all ranks, and, 
when tired of them, sending them ofE about their business,. 



* The wall was of granite, and abont twenty -five feet in height, 
t Vol. ii., pages 289-296. 



THE FALL OP JHANSI. 221 

or promoting them according as they ingratiated them- 
selves in her favour ; in short, she was a second Catherine 
of Russia. Were it not for the atrocities, however, that 
she committed, or caused to be committed, she would 
have had the sympathies of everyone ; for she was a 
perfect Amazon in bravery, heading her troops, mounted 
like a man, just the sort of dare-devil woman that soldiers 
admire. 

When we first arrived in Jhansi, she made overtures to 
Sir Hugh Rose, wishing to have an interview with him. 
Sir Hugh, however, knowing all her antecedents, gave her 
to understand, through her messenger, that if she came 
near him, woman and princess as she was, he would 
certainly hang her. She had nothing for it, therefore, 
but either giving herself up to be hung, or fighting to the 
death. Finding herself driven into a corner, she preferred 
doing the latter, and fought against us again and again 
till she was finally killed at Gwalior. Could the histoiy 
of this remarkable woman be written, it would no doubt 
present some very strange features. 

While the fighting was going on in the city, we were 
not idle outside, but polished olE numbers as they tried 
to escape, and it is probable more were killed in that way 
than in the assault of the city and the subsequent street- 
fighting. There was this difference, however : those we 
had to deal with were fugitives flying for their lives, 
while the troops in the city had to do with desperate men 
fighting for their lives, and determined to sell them 
dearly. So that there was less danger in our work — not 
but what we had a sharp encounter now and then, where 



222 SCRAPS FROM MY iSABKETASCHB. 

it was staring one another in the face, and feeling our 
way with our swords* — but most of it was simply 
Tdlling, 

One day twenty-four of us, under Cornet Beamish, went, 
from one end of the city to the other, without the walls, 
skirmishing, and we must have killed an immense number 
one way and another. We rode into one courtyard in 
which there were at least 200 armed men ; these fellows 
were so panic-stricken at our appearance, that they threw 
down their arms, and allowed us to butcher them with 
our swords till we were actually tired with the slaughter. 
I don't think we left many of them alive ! 

Once or twice in our progress through the gardens, we 
had some little encounters on foot ; for the wretches, after 
firing, would dash under the bushes, &c., and there was 
no getting at them unless we dismounted. In one of 
these bouts I had just put my sword into the ribs of one 
of these fellows (an artilleryman), and he clung to the 
bare blade, holding it in his body,t and cutting his fingers 



* There was comparatively little danger in having a brush with 
rebels single-handed, for They only made cnts ; these are easily 
guarded — indeed, one has but to guard the first, and then insinuate 
the point of one's sword into the opponent. Experience has shown 
the advantage of pointing over cutting: a person might receive a 
dozen cuts and recover from them, but nine out of ten must die from 
a point through the body. I cannot prove this by statistics, but for 
all that it must be a fact. 

f The popular belief among natives is, that drawing the weapon (mt 
causes death (not plunging it in, I suppose), and that as the weapon 
comes out, so also does the life-blood ; but all the while the weapon 
remains in, the recipient of it will live. This man evidently wished 
to have some satisfaction at the very last moment of his life. 



THE FALL OB' JHANSI. 223 

to the bone in doing 80» at the same time making frantic 
attempts to bit« my leg ; fortunately my boot protected 
it, but he held my trousers in his teeth as tenaciously as 
a bull-dog would, and I had to use the spur of my other 
boot in his face to make him relinquish his hold. This 
will give some idea of the savage nature of our warfare in 
these little skirmishes. 

It was blazing hot on that day, and, what with the 
violent exercise and the sun, I was parched with thirst ; 
and I could imagine that I did not have a very pre- 
possessing appearance when I came to a well, where were 
two women drawing water — one an old one, the other 
young and good-looking. I rode up to the well and 
desired them to draw me a drop of water; the younger 
woman stared vacantly at me as if she were frightened, 
or did not properly understand me, and I repeated the 
demand for water in a louder tone. I suppose the poor 
thing, judging from my appearance, must have fancied I 
was a very savage fellow and wanted her life ; for, without 
a word, she plunged into the well, to the horror of the 
old woman, who commenced wringing her hands and 
bewailing her loss. 

T was truly sorry for the poor creature throwing her life 
away like that, and would have helped her out again with 
great pleasure, had I thought she would have accepted my 
help, but knowing by experience that she wouldn't, I 
contented myself with desiring the old woman to draw 
the water, which she did at once, and in great tre- 
pidation. 

At this time Cornet Beamish came up, and told one of 



224 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASCHE. 

the men to loosen his horses' heel-ropes, and try to get 
the young woman up. He might have spared the trouble ; 
for she preferred drowning in the well to being saved by 
the Feringees. 

Everyone felt sorry for the fate of the poor creature ; 
but I felt that I was, inadvertently, the cause of her 
death — though had anyone else come up first, she would 
probably have done the same thing. I felt more sorry 
for her death than I did for all the men that I had 
killed* on that day. 

In our skirmishing many of the men made some very 
good loot. I was rather fortunate that way myseK. I 
noticed a fellow, on one occasion, nursing a bundle with 
very great care, which led me to think it contained some- 
thing more valuable than clothing, so I gently inserted 
my sword into his ribs, dismounted, and took care of it 
for him. I had no time to inspect the contents then, but 
hastily tumbled out a lot of gold-mohurs into the holsters 

* Nnmbers of poor women, whose husbands, brothers, or fathers 
had been killed by us, voluntarily followed us and our fortunes. What 
were they to do ? Having left the city, they could not return ; their 
friends being killed, they had no protectors or home, and in time they 
came to look on the very men who had killed their relatives — and 
whom they had been taught to look upon with abhorrence and hatred 
— as their protectors and fiiends. I have often conversed with some 
of these women, and it was amusing to listen to the account they gave 
of the tales their former friends had instilled into them concerning our 
ferocity — to females in particular. I need not say they were agreeably 
imdeceived, and probably enjoyed life more now (low as they had 
fallen, morally) than ever they did before, and would not have had 
their caste restored, and return to their former way of living, even if 
they could have done so 



THE FALL OF JHANSI. 225 

of my saddle ; and dropping a snake,* through the net- 
work of which I could see the " yellow dross " glitter, 
into my haversack, I mounted and went on with my 
skinnishing. Now and then, when I had occasion to trot, 
I had the mortification of seeing some of my gold mohurs 
dancing about in the wallets, and some of them rolling 
out. 

After the day's work was over, and we had returned to 
camp, I inspected my prize, which consisted of about a 
quart of gold mohurs (I did not bother about counting 
them) ; and quite a valuable collection of gold bangles, 
gold ear, nose, and finger rings, studded with jewels, were 
contained in the snake. Yet they were, after all, com- 
paratively worthless to me, and I was glad to get rid of 
them as soon as possible; for the weather was so hot 
that I could not be burdened with the weight of them. 
I could not give them over to anyone's care, as they 
were loot, and would be handed over to the prize-agent ; 
if I left them in my kit, they might at any moment be 
stolen, or the baggage might be cut off, and my prize 
with it ; so I gradually got rid of them by buying luxuries, 
in the shape of delicacies, wine, beer, &c., at exorbitant 
prices, and finished the last of the rings long after the 
campaign was over. 

I think it will take many years to efface from the 
memory of the inhabitants of Jhansi the awful retribution 
which fell on that place to avenge the murders perpetrated 
there. I have avoided interlarding these chapters with 

* A long net-work pnrse, worn round the waist as a sash. 

15 



226 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASCHE. 

sensational descriptions of the frightful atrocities inflicted 
on European women here and at other places. That 
relating to Jhansi has been officially contradicted — the 
official version being that the victims were simply 
butchered, without being blackened or dishonoured. Let 
us hope the version may be true ; but from my knowledge 
of Indian character, and conversations with natives, I 
believe that they did have to suffer horrors, as bad, if not 
worse, than any description yet given of them. I only 
hope I may be mistaken. The authorities, no doubt, had 
good motives in hushing the matter up as well as they 
could, out of kindness to relatives, &c. ; yet, in spite of 
this, the stern appalling truth will peep out here and 
there from amidst the glossed-over accounts written by 
officialdom, and make one's very blood boil at the thought 
of what the poor victims must have suffered. 

But enough of this. Everything was done for the 
comfort of the wounded. Sir Hugh Eose himself visiting 
them constantly ; but the intense heat proved highly 
detrimental to them, greatly retarding their recovery, 
in some cases causing wounds to mortify, which, had 
the weather been cooler, would probably never have 
happened. 

There was a good deal of sickness, too, among the 
men; it almost seemed as if the constant excitement of 
the past fortnight had alone kept many from succumbing, 
and the moment the fighting was over sickness ensued. 
Be that as it may, one thing is certain, from the time the 
fighting ceased sickness began to be rife in camp. 

A remarkable case occurred here which may not be 



THE FALL OF JHANSI. 227 

undesemng of mention. An old soldier of ours, named 
Harry Gordon, reported himself sick one morning, but 
could describe his symptoms no more lucidly than that 
" he felt as if he wanted to be always lying down." The 
doctor (a recent importation) bade him go back to his 
duty, saying it was simply laziness, and that there was 
nothing whatever the matter with him. The man went 
away indignant at the doctor's insinuation, exclaiming, 

" There 's a pretty d d doctor, to tell me I 'm lazy, 

and that there 's nothing the matter with me ! A lot he 

knows about his business. I'm d d if I don't go 

back and die, just to show what a b d fool he is!'* 

He kept his word, for in less than an hour he was carried 
to the hospital, dead ! The doctor had thought the poor 
fellow was scheming, when in reality he was dying. 

Shortly after, the place containing the bodies of the 
murdered Europeans, numbering sixty-seven, was enclosed 
by a wall, and the funeral service read over them. This 
solemn duty being performed. Sir Hugh set to work to 
prepare for further campaigning, our ultimate destination 
being Kalpee, and towards the end of the month we 
found ourselves marching in that direction. 



16 • 




228 SCRAPS FROM MT SABBETASCHE. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 



KOONCH. — "not dead YET. 



99 



Wb began now to suffer much from the heat of the 
weather ; and, as if to add to our discomfort, we con- 
tmued, through some sapient red-tapery, still to wear our 
winter clothing. Fancy an Indian hot season, with the 
thermometer at 115^ to 120^ in the shade, constantly being 
exposed to the sun at — I will not venture to say how 
many degrees — and wearing the identical sort of woollen 
clothing we should have worn at home in the bitterest 
winter! 

I should say this sort of thing cost us a good many 
men, who, had we been supplied with clothing suitable 
to the season, would probably have been living now. 
What with heat, little rest, and other concomitant evils, 
we began to feel somewhat knocked up. We used 
generally to march during the night, so as to come to 
our halting-place by daylight or shortly after, in order 
to avoid as much as possible the intense heat of the sun ; 
and I must say Sir Hugh Bose did his best to avoid 



KOONCH. 229 

exposing us unnecessarily — a consideration which we fuUj 
appreciated, and were not slow to expose ourselves when 
required, as we always felt sure it was unavoidable. 

We were marching on to a place called Koonch, where, 
it was understood, a large body of rebels were posted^ 
and whom it was anticipated we were to encounter on the 
morrow. We proceeded on during a great part of the 
night, occasionally halting for a short time to rest our 
horses; and so much were we fatigued by the recent 
forced marches, and the heat of the weather, that no 
sooner were we off our horses' backs than we were down 
on the ground and fast asleep in a moment ; we did not 
want any tucking in, nor such superfluities as pillows. 
No one who has not experienced the same can imagine 
the delightful feeling of dropping off to sleep in that 
manner, nor the intense annoyance felt at the first blast 
of the trumpet, which calls the troopers from their tem- 
porary forgetfulness, to shake themselves, mount their 
horses, and wearily jog on their way again. 

After one of these short halts, we were marching along 
in silence ; each one, perhaps, buried in his own medi- 
tations, thinking of home, friends, and other sentimental 
nonsense, undisturbed even by the click of the chuck- 
mucky for there could be no enjoyment of the pipe at 
such a time. I was dreamily cogitating in my own mind 
the probable events of the coming morrow, when I noticed 
a dhooHe, borne as usual by four bearers, noiselessly 
proceeding by the side of my horse. 

There being nothing unusual in this, I at first scarcely 
paid any attention to it, but perceiving that its close 



230 



SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 



proximity made my horse fidgety — a thing unusual with 
him — and that persistently it neither went ahead nor 
dropped back, but kept so near to my horse, and in such 
a silent manner, for I now for the first time noticed the 
silence of the bearers, I could not avoid being struck 
with its singularity. This was rather a remarkable thing; 
they are generally the reverse of silent, and usually have 
a peculiar sort of cry or chaunt, as I distinctly remembered, 
having taken the trouble to translate some of their cbaunts, 
to my own entire satisfaction, on first arriving in the 
country, and before I knew anything of the language; 
my rendering was thus — free, of course : 



Fbont Bearers 

Rear ^ 

Front 

Rear 

All 



»» 



»» 



»> 



If 



55 



Front Bearers 

Rear 

Front 

Rear 

All 



»» 



»> 



»> 



>» 



»> 



>5 



Ist Verse. 

He*8 80 heayy! 
Damn him I 
Ain't he hQ&Ty I 
Damn him! damn him ! 
Ail ail oh 1 oh I 
Damn him 1 damn him I 

2nd Verse. 

Shall we drop him ? 
Damn him 1 

We 'd like to drop him I 
Damn him I damn him I 
Ail ai I hoi hoi 
Damn him ! damn him I 



I am inclined to think, from the fact of the rear bearers 
having principally to sustain the chorus, and doing it, 
too, so energetically, that they also sustain the heaviest 
portion of their burden. This is suggestive, and is a fit 
subject for scientific research ; the compiler of statistical 
tables relating to it would, without doubt, confer a boon 



KOONCH. 231 

on society in general, and be amply rewarded for his own 
trouble in compiling them. 

To return to my own particular dhoolie. I spoke to the 
bearers, and told them either to go on or back; but 
receiving no answer, I rode my horse a yard or two out 
of the ranks, to make them, and Ihey retreated as be 
advanced, the dhoolie still keeping the same distance from 
the horse as before. I thought this somewhat strange ; 
but what was my surprise, on looking closer to ascertain 
who was the occupant, to see myself^ apparently lifelesSy 
stretched in it ! 

Now, I do not consider that I am particularly super- 
stitious — in fact, I believe that I am rather the reverse ; 
but there seemed to me something very remarkable in 
the circumstance, to say the least of it. Was I awake, or 
dreaming? I rubbed my eyes to ascertain. I was 
evidently wide awake ; intensely so. Here were my com- 
rades behind and before — or, rather, in front and in rear 
of me — and there was that infernal dhoolie still continu- 
ing its noiseless progress by my side, and containing 
my other body, to all appearance defunct. 

I could not reasonably tell all this to my comrades, for 
they would naturally laugh at me. I could not, either, 
ask anyone if they saw the dhoolie (in my own mind I 
felt sure they could not), for they would just as naturally 
conclude I was a fit subject for a strait- jacket. There 
continued the dhoolie^ however, with my lifeless corpse in 
it, and my proper, living self riding by the side of it! 

This led me to call to mind all the tales of apparitions, 
fetches, Ac, I had ever heard or read of ; and I concluded, 



232 SCRAPS FROM MY SABUETASCHE. 

much to my dissatisfaction, that it was a sort of warning 
of what was to occur to me on the morrow. So after 
mature consideration I came to the conclusion that " what 
is to be must be ; and, to coin a word, Mussulmanicallj 
and philosophically resigned myself to whatever might 
turn up, even if that operation included my toes. Shortly 
after, another halt was sounded, and I saw no more of my 
dhoolie nor its ghastly occupant. 

Morning brought us near the vicinity of Koonch, with 
a large body of rebels drawn up in front of it. Our 
troops were halted, both to rest them and to make the 
necesuary preparations for an attack. Each man was 
served out with a dram of grog and some biscuit soon 
after we halted, which met with the treatment it deserved. 
I had utterly forgotten my nocturnal apparition, and was 
in capital spirits. I considered myself particularly for- 
tunate, too, in obtaining a good drink of water from 
Major MacMabon, whose hheestie had just brought up a 
mtissuch full of it, clear and cold ; the Major also let my 
horse have a drop, which I looked upon as a great favour, 
as there was not much water procurable just then, which 
greatly enhanced the value of his kind gift. 

For some unaccountable reason — or, at least, for some 
reason that I was unacquainted with — we were kept 
waiting for a long time before operations commenced 
with that portion of the force in which I was, and in that 
time twelve men of the 71st Highlanders were sun-struck. 
Poor fellows ! just coming out from home, they could not 
stand the heat so well as those more seasoned to the 
climate, and they suffered in proportion. During that 



KOONCH. 233 

halt they tried to shelter themselves from the fierce 
ravs of the sun, as well as they could, by spreading 
towels or pocket-handkerchiefs on the points of their 
bayonets and huddling under that little bit of shade. We 
had an advantage over them, for we could sit in the shade 
under our horses' bellies ! 

Towards noon we became engaged with the rebels. I 
am not going to describe the battle — for that is out of 
my power — but simply relate what happened to myself. 
As I mentioned before, in the first part of the morning 
I felt in capital order ; but as the day advanced I became 
sensible of extreme giddiness in the head, a choking 
sensation in the throat, and a great craving for water, 
which I eagerly drank, and as eagerly poured over my 
head and down my bosom* whenever I could get the 
chance. This produced a temporary feeling of coolness 
that was positively delicious ; for the hot wind, blowing 
through the saturated clothes on the body, became quite 
cold and chilly. This lasted, however, but for a few 
moments, and, of course, I could not always have water 
poured over me ; others wanted it as bad as myself, 
among the rest Sir Hugh Rose himself, who, but for 
repeated douches, would probably never have survived 
that day. He was prostrated three times with the un- 
bearable heat of the sun, and as often rose with renewed 
vigour after receiving the contents of a mussuck over hia 
head and body. 

To return to myself. I felt very queer, as if I did not 
care whether I laid down and died, got hit from some 

* This was a very common practice. 



234 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASOHE. 

fitraj bullet, or, indeed, what became of me — in fact, I 
thought it would be rather a good thing to be knocked 
over, and be out of that terrible sun altogether, and I 
know that was also the feeling of a good many. 

I was on the left flank of the front rank of my troop ; 
next to me rode a lance-corporal, junior to myself, and, 
in spite of this feeling which I have endeavoured to 
describe, I had previously asked him to give a look if any- 
thing should happen to me. We had already had some 
little skirmishes with the rebels, and were now ordered 
to charge a large body of them drawn up on the opposite 
side of a ploughed field some distance off. This, as near 
as I can tell, was about 1 o'clock. 

Off we started ! I have a hazy recollection of madly 
galloping and plunging over this ploughed field, which 
was full of trenches — of a good deal of firing, shouting, 
cutting and slashing, and then all was a blank. I must 
have been unhorsed, either by my horse falling with me 
or my falling off on my own at^count. In either case 

1 was senseless, and do not remember anything till about 

2 o'clock in the day, and the reader will please bear in 
mind that I say that time advisedly. 

On first recovering my senses, I found myself on the 
ground. I sat up as well as I could, and saw several 
dead bodies scattered about near me, and not a living 
soul within sight. The hot glaring sun was striking 
fiercely on me ; no shade anywhere that I could crawl to 
to escape its awful rays. It was maddening ! My Ck)d ! 
I would have given the world for a bit of shade, if it 
were only the size of a cabbage leaf ! 



KOONCH. 235 

On turning round, at some distance off I saw a 
dhoolie, but no bearers. There, at least, was some shelter 
from this burning sun. Oh, yes ! I could get into that, 
and for the remainder I cared not, so that I was out of 
the direct glare of the sun. I managed to crawl to it ; 
but, on opening it, I found a dead body lying in it. I 
suppose I must have revolted from the idea of climbing 
in on to the top of him for shade. Who he was, or 
what he was, I never knew from that day to this, but I 
left him in possession of the interior of the dhoolie. 

Leaving him thus, I cast my eyes about for some other 
means of shelter ; this, such as it was, I perceived im- 
mediately. I remember, distinctly, that the dhoolie 
threw a shadow at the side of it about six inches in 
breadth, which made me imagine it was about 2 o'clock 
at the time. I remember, too, that I eagerly thrust as 
much of my head as I possibly could into that little six 
inches of shade, and I remember no more. 

In the charge over that ploughed ground my troop 
lost several men. It was full of pit-falls, and these were 
not discovered till we were right in the midst of them, 
when, of course, the only thing to do was to plunge 
through in the best way we could. One man had his 
neck fairly broken by his horse coming down with him. 
Strangely enough, too, this man, and another, also, who 
was killed, had been for some time undergoing imprison- 
ment, and had only been released that morning to take 
part in the action, as a great favour, and at their own 
earnest entreaty.* 

* The names of the men were Steadman and Townsend. 



236 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASOHE. 

I caonot here resist telling an episode -which occurred 
after this. Some of our men were in hot pursuit of the 
rebels ; they had galloped for many miles, cutting down 
whatever stragglers they overtook. What with the heat 
of the sun and their violent exertions, they must have 
been maddened with thirst, when, to their great joy, 
they came up to a well. Most of the men caiTied a lota* 
attached to the pommel of the saddle, supplied with a 
long string to enable them to lower it into wells and 
draw water. On perceiving the well, they quickly dis- 
mounted, unslung their lotas, and lowered them into it ; 
when, to their surprise, some of them were cut from their 
strings, and the men were greeted with a volley from the 
bottom of the well. 

Some dozen or so of the rebels — there being only about a 
foot of water in the well — had concealed themselves there ; 
and, had they let the men quietly draw the water, they 
might have remained undiscovered. As it was, the men 
were bound to have water at any price ; so they kept 
firing over the edge of the well into it till the rebels 
were nearly all killed, when they were astonished at 
hearing a voice in English cry out, " For God's sake, pull 
me up ! ** One of the men immediately lowered his 
horse's heel-ropes and pulled up the individual, who 
turned out to be a half-caste, probably a band-master of 
some native regiment. His English, howevor, did not 
save his life, but rather hastened his death. In a moment 
half-a-dozen swords were through him. He fell, crying^ 

* Small brass drinking-vessel, carried by all natives. 



** NOT DEAD YET." 237 

^* Oh, my God, has it come to this ! " It had evidently 
come to that ; no mercy could be shown to one in his 
position ; his being able to speak the English language 
and having English blood in his veins rendering him 
doubly culpable, and a thousand times worse than the 
villains with whom he was leagued. 

Our men now turned their attention to the well, and 
having ascertained its occupants were all dead, or at 
least quiet, peaceably drew up their water for a refreshing 
drink, but, much to their disgust, it was quite red on 
account of the shallowness of the water and the number ^ 
of rebels who had been killed in it. Necessity has no 
law. They were parched with thirst ; they must drink, 
blood or not blood, and they did. 

On this day I was not the only man who was sun- 
Btruck, numbers of others shared the same fate, and 
several of them died — I think seven or eight. I was 
picked up afterwards and carried to the hospital tents 
senseless, and remained so for two days — at least, I 
remember nothing for that time ; and I must have been 
particularly senseless, for I was returned in the despatches 
as dead. These despatches were copied in the papers, and 
some time after I had the satisfaction of reading an 
account of the engagement and my own death. I pro- 
cured one of these papers, and forwarded it home to my 
friends, who, I believe, have it in their possession now, 
as a curio. 

This was not all ; it was customary in the regiment to 
put a stone up over any comrade who died, and on the 
news of my death some of my old comrades in the depot 



238 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

at Kirkee raised a subscription and put a tombstone up 

in the cemetery there to my memory. It was with a 

mournful pleasure, some three years after, I visited the 

hallowed spot, and, standing opposite my own head-stone, 

read the following :■ — 

Sacred 
To THE Memobt 

OF 

CORPORAL LE WARNER, 

H.M.'8 14th (King's) Light Dragoons,* 

Who Lost His Life 

AT 
EOONCH, 

On the 7th May 1857. 
This Stone was placed hebe 

BY 

Some of his Comrades. 

Now 1 think there is something very remarkable in 
this ; for I have paid for my own coffin, I have been 
returned as dead, I have moralised on the shortness of 
life over my own tombstone, and " I *m not dead yet ! " 

By a still more curious coincidence, while actually 
writing the above, I received a very handsome present 
from a Pekinese friend ; a present which is rarely con- 
ferred on anyone, and one which any Chinese would think 
it the highest honour to receive. This present was neither 
more nor less than a pall, A lady f in Shanghai, of great 
literary acquirements, wrote a description of it, which 
appeared in No. 14 of the " Oriental." For the benefit of 
those readers who may not be able to procure that maga- 



* Since then the 14th has become a hussar regiment 
t Misa Lydia Mary Fay. 



" NOT DEAD YET." 239 

zine, and to substantiate my statement, I append the 
article in question. 

The Tu-lu-king-pi, or Pall of Victory. 

In a recent "Pekin Gazette" it is stated that the Em- 
peror had just presented a Tu-lu-king-pi to the late distin- 
guished statesman, Chu-peug-piao. That a prince of the 
blood, attended by a detachment of His Majesty's Life 
Guards, was deputed to present this imperial insignia of 
mysterious power, to cover the coffin with it, and to offer 
at the grave of the departed statesman the accustomed 
sacrifices in place of His Majesty. 

As so high an honour is rarely conferred, even upon 
princes, and as an explanation of the Tu-lu-pi may serve 
to show another phase of the strange wild fancies and 
extravagant superstitions that still encircle the Dragon 
Throne, and extend their influence to the least among 
the people, we submit the following, which may not be 
without interest to the thoughtful observer of Chinese 
character. 

It is said that Confucianism is the State religion ; it 
has its place, an important one, in the State, and its 
influence on the intellect of the learned classes ; but when 
sickness, misfortune, or old age come nigh, — rich and 
poor, high and low, all alike fly to Buddhism, which is 
the religion of their hearts. " They all die Buddhists," 
as the priests so often boastfully say. The following 
explanation of the Tu-lu-pi may be taken as one proof 
of the* assertion. That such extravagant nonsense should 
still be found in books, even in the nineteenth century, 



240 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHB. 

is not strange; but that each word should be em- 
broidered in gold on costly cloth of velvet or satin, and 
presented by an emperor, who sways the destinies of 
millions, to «ne of his greatest statesmen, as a talisman 
of mysterious power, giving victory over death and Hades, 
seems one of the marvels of the nineteenth centurv ! 

The Tu'lu-king-pi is about the size of an ordinary 
funeral pall. It is made of velvet or satin, finished with 
a rich arabesque border of gold embroidery, interspersed 
with strange mystic figures, symbols, charms, and 
circles, — all possessing a wonderful influence in the 
region of Hades. In the circles are written prayers, 
invocations, or incantations, in hieroglyphs, the know- 
ledge of which is not considered in any degree necessary 
to their eflficacy ; simple faith in using them, being the 
only required condition. 

In the centre of the " Pall of Victorv," is the outline 
of a Sthupa or Indian pagoda, heavily embroidered in 
gold; within this outline are embroidered the sacred 
golden characters of " The Classic" of the Tri-lu-jpi. This 
sacred text, which none may dare translate, is again 
surrounded by an inner border of mystic circles, in which 
are written prayers and incantations in Pali, Sanskrit, 
and sometimes in Tibetan, or Manchu characters, which 
it is not considered necessary that even the faithful 
should understand. 

But at the base of the Sthupa is a hsii preface in 
Chinese characters, which explains all that is important 
to be known of the origin and use of the Ttt-lti-pi and 
the kingy which is inseparable from it. 



"not dead yet.*' 241 

The preface, literally translated, reads as follows: — 
" On the sea of sin (this world) there are overwhelming 
waves. Who can abide for ever in Hades ? There is an 
ark of safety — a vessel of mercy— that can save the lost, 
and reach the kingdom of joy! It is of the first im- 
portance to reach * that shore ' (Nirvana). But there are 
three myriads and many thousand trials and misfortunes 
in the way, and, therefore, owing to the kalpas or three 
great periods of trouble, all living things must suffer the 
bitterness of death and transmigration, as all are involved 
in the revolutions of the Great Wheel (Lun-hui) of Fate. 
The illustrious Western Pu-seh (Buddha) knowing this, 
had compassion on the living and the dead. In the 
bottomless pit, he raised the lotus-leaved tower, on the 
top of which was a seven-storied Sthupa, whereon he 
sat and spake forth words of truth and life. His face 
was severe in majestic dignity. His words were like a 
great light — and wherever the spirits in torment saw this 
light, hope sprang up in their hearts ; they could see to 
leave their abode, and begin to scale the heights towards 
heaven, leaving their filth behind them." The repetition 
of this classic (as written on the Tu-lu-pi) leads to life ; 
the sound of the words even, has power to lift spirits 
from hell, and carry them three points towards Nirvana. 
The profit, and joy, and grace of this classic cannot be 
measured. As it is said in " The Book of Directions,'* 
or " How to escape the Defilements and Pollutions of the 
World." This mysterious classic destroys evil and pro- 
duces virtue. If it be fastened on a corpse, on the 
forehead, throat, heart ; or hidden in any place near it ; 

16 



242 SGBAPS FROM MT SABBETASCHE. 

placed on the head as a cap, or on the body as a 
covering like a sheet, the soul of the dead man will 
immediately receive the strength of the great Buddha; 
all his past sins, however heinous, will be forgiven, and 
all his bitter torments speedily ended ; the soul will free 
the pangs of death, leave the way of evil, enter a place 
of purity, see the face of Buddha, receive his instructions, 
and, perhaps, may be immediately permitted to be bom 
again upon the earth, enter a new state of existence in 
this world as a man of wealth and honour, enjoying long 
life and happiness, the merit and glory of which will 
surpass all description ! Therefore, according to the holv 
will of Buddha, this classic was printed in the b^inning 
of time; but, as ages rolled on, the priests of Buddha 
corrupted this precious classic, and hence there are 
pretended copies written in four ways, differing from the 
one true and priceless original. In some the central 
figure of the Sthwpa differs from the true copy. In 
others, the text of the classic differs, and there are those 
in which the prayers are incorrect. 

"But this is a correct copy, carefully compared and 
arranged for the faithful. The form of the Sthupa is 
after the original model. The writing is after the 
Sanskrit. The translation is according to the Imperial 
Edition of Thibet, with the size, form, length, and 
name of each prayer and charm minutely given." 

Then follow the names of fifteen prayers in Sanskrit 
Then "other prayers or mystic charms, which may be 
written on silk or paper, and laid upon the body of the 
dead in eighteen different places, and thus purify it 



"not dead yet/* 243 

from all defilement ; after the purification is accomplished, 
the prayers may be gathered and placed in the Sthwpay 
and the spirit of the dead will be at rest." 

" All these words were spoken by the mouth of Buddha 
himself. If a believing man or woman receive the illimit- 
able merit and blessing of this Tu-lvr-pi, let them rejoice 
with boundless joy, they will go triumphantly to ^that 
share* (Nirvana)." 

L. M. F. 

Shanghai, 27th March, 1874 



16 ♦ 



244 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHB. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

KALPEE AND GALOWLEB. — RAVINGS AND MISTY 

RECOLLECTIONS. 

Those days during which I was senseless may be con- 
sidered as sponged out of my existence — wiped out 
altogether — leaving a perfect blank. When I did come 
to my senses it was not to a full possession of them, 
but a languid dreamy consciousness of where I was and 
what was going on about me, not by any means distinct. 
I saw everything as if the objects were enshrouded in 
mist, or as if a veil of some gauzy texture were drawn 
between me and them ; I forgot what I saw imme- 
diately or remembered it only partially as one remembers 
a dream or phantasm of the brain. The sound of voices 
appeared smothered and indistinct, as if my ears were 
stuffed with cotton. It was fatiguing to look at any- 
thing, it was more fatiguing still to listen to their 
mutterings. There was one sound I did like to hear, 
however, the sound of water ; but, oh ! how delightful 
it was to lie there and feel the cool water dashing on 
my burning head and trickling over my face and bosom. 



MISTY EEOOLLEOTIONS. 245 

No melody was ever so sweet as the music of that drip, drip, 
drop, drop, was to mj delighted ears ; all other sounds 
were swallowed up and lost in that limpid harmony ; all 
other feelings were dead save the exquisite feeling of 
relief its coolness produced on my heated brain. It must 
be elysium could one only die to the sound of that deli- 
cious trickling music. 

I have an indistinct recollection of being carried on 
the road — ^I don't know what it was in — of the dreadful 
sun being on every side of me, trying to get at me and 
scorch my brain up ; but, thank God ! I could defy it. I 
had carefully put my head in the shade, and the shadow 
must grow broader and broader as the sun descended 
and grew weaker and weaker. That was a good idea of 
mine, wasn't it, putting my head in the six inches of 
shade ? Why, it must be a foot now ! and by and by, as he 
sinks, my whole body will be in the shade, and then I can 
laugh at the sun — he will be powerless to hurt me. Oh ! 
yes, I 'm well protected now and can almost defy the sun. 
I don't know whether I used to talk at all ; but some- 
times I had very pleasant dreams, generally of home, 
Ac. ; I am, however, inclined to think they were merely 
waking dreams. 

I have a confused remembrance of being in a tent 
which was full of " sun-strokes," * some of whom seemed 
to unaccountably disappear and be replaced by others,— 
of dreamily listening to the delirious ramblings of men, 

* One man was actnally stmck throngh the tent. He was in the 
hospital with some other complaint when this occurred, and conld not 
have been exposed to the sim at all. 



246 SCBAPS PROM MY SABBETASCHE. 

as thej tossed on their beds and flung their arms about, 
&ncjing they were talking to friends at home. As soon 
as one began to talk of home his place was sure to be 
Tacant yery shortly. I remember that very well, but was 
not at all surprised at it. Who wanted to hear about his 
home or frieads ? Why don't he lie quiet and dream of 
them if he likes, and not interrupt others in their dreams ? 
I can remember the horror I felt when I first thoroughly 
understood that I was in hospital, the dread of dying 
there, my restless desire of being out of it and among 
my comrades. What the devil did they bring me here 
for? There's nothing the matter with me, I won't 
stop in a d — d hospital ! Everybody dies that comes 
here. I so worried the doctor who attended me with 
repeated asseverations that I was quite well and wanted 
to go out, that he discharged me ; but the senior doctor 
would not allow it, as he said it was simply sending 
me out to die. So I had to remain; but I pestered him 
too, till at length, I believe, he was glad to get rid of 
me, and discharged me from hospital. 

Although I was once more at my duty I was still 
very hazy in my ideas, and every time I lay down to 
sleep I became delirious; on several occasions the men 
roused me from my raving sleep and wanted me to go 
back to hospital, but such was my dread of that place 
that I swore I would never go there unless carried. I 
soon discovered that if I did not lie down when I slept 
I was free from delirium, so I hit on the plan of sitting 
cross-legged like a tailor, and sleeping in that position^ 
This plan I followed for many weeks; and at length I 



MISTT RECOLLECTIONS. 247 

got so used to it, that for a long time I could sleep in 
no other position.* 

For weeks, too, although performing all my duties 
regularly, I did everything mechanically, as if I were in 
a dream, and can only imperfectly remember passing 
events, even though I was present and acted my part in 
them. Most curious, too, I never remember eating any- 
thing at this time, though, of course, I must have done 
80; but certain particular drinks of water or tea I had 
then are as vividly impressed on my mind now as if I 
had them but a few minutes ago, and I can recall the 
peculiar flavour of the beverage, and the influence it had 
on me, even to this moment. 

I have a faint recollection of the sufferings of that 
awful march on to Kalpee : of men and horsesf dropping 
down from heat and exhaustion ; of men, unable to go any 
further, crawling under any bush by the roadside that 
afforded the slightest shelter, and being picked up dead 

* The habit of sitting cross-legged became so natural to me, that 
eyen now I cannot entirely break myself of it, and often catch myself 
sitting cross-legged on my chair at table. 

t Many of the horses were sun-struck, or dropped dead with heat 
and exhaustion ; it was pitiable to see them sometimes dragging them- 
selves, they must have sufifered terribly, both from heat and want of 
water. A man would always divide his water with his horse, and let 
him drink out of the bottle first, too. I have seen a man cry at the 
death of his horse, who, perhaps, would not have shed a tear at the 
death of his nearest relative; nor is it astonishing that a soldier 
should love his horse, when one considers how much, to a dragoon, 
depends on him. I have been greatly impressed at noticing great 
rough fellows treating their horses as tenderly as if thoy were babies. 
Nor would I give much for the dragoon who did not love his horse 
and treat him kindly. 



248 SCRAPS FEOM MY SABRETASCHK. 

or dying and carried on ; of our fellows sometimes giving 
some of the infantry a lift on their horses to help them 
a bit of the way on the road, while they themselves 
walked ; of men of the 71 st dropping by the dozen and 
being carried into our tents senseless, dead, and dying.* 

I can remember there being no water on the road; 
and men falling out maddened with thirst, and scraping 
in the dry bed of a river to get a drop of the precious 
liquid ; — eagerly drinking the filthy tepid puddle which 
tasted more sweet to the parched lips than the purest 
nectar; — the thronging of men and cattle round a well 
which was rapidly growing shallower till it finally became 
dry, struggling, fighting, and crying for water ;-^men 
dying of thirst with swollen tongues lolling out of 
their mouths and bolting staring eyes ; — and one man 

• The case of this regiment was particularly hard, as they had but 
few camp followers, and, I think, no cooks — ^the men themselves 
having to cook their meals in the blazing sun, after a long march. 
Our men were able to show them many little acts of kindness, which 
they never forgot. We were well supplied with camels and elephants, 
and our tents and baggage generally kept up to us, and reached the 
camping-ground almost as soon as we did ; we were, besides, mounted. 
They had to march on foot, and having bullocks only to carry their 
tents and baggage, which were always late in arriving ; and but for the 
shelter we afforded them in our tents, the poor fellows would, after a 
long march, have had to wait for hours in the burning sun for theil* 
baggage to come up. On one march in particular, dozens of the men 
were carried into our tents, senseless — struck down by the sun, heat, 
or fatigue — and the doctor of the 71st actually cried at the sad 
spectacle, exclaiming, " My God ! my God 1 what will become of my 
poor men! I shall never forget your (the 14th) kindness to them.** 
The men of the 71st never did forget ; for ev«r afterwards any man of 
our regiment would be welcomed, even if a stranger to them, with 
open arms, and treated with the greatest hospitality. 



EAVINGS. 249 

being sun-struck, and, knowing it, in his delirium fiercely 
stabbing witb his sword up to heaven, and daring the 
Almighty to come down and fight him like a man, and 
not strike him " foully with this b d sun." 

When we reached Galowlee I can remember something 
about being short of water there, and having to shift our 
camp through it ; and something of the Jumna being only 
a few miles off ; of the enemy being between us and that 
glorious river, that we must beat them to get to it, and 
that we did so too.* I can remember the enemv harass- 
ing us in the daytime when the sun was hottest, and they 
knew that many of us must succumb to its blasting 
influence (it seems to me now that we were perpetually 
out in it, repelling their attacks — now on this side the 
<^mp, now on that) ; — the enemy sometimes coming so 
near that the shots came into camp and apparently from 
All sides at once, as if we were surrounded ; there were 
repeated turns out and fights against awful odds in the 
blazing sun, and finally a glorious victory and the capture 
of Kalpee. 

I can see the river now, glittering in the bright rays 
of the sun like a broad waving band of molten silver ; 
the ravines leading to it thronged with men, horses, camels, 
•elephants, bullocks, all possessed of one craving desire — 
water; all rushing to the river to quench their burning 
thirst with its cool waters, to lave their wearied bodies 
in its clear bosom. I can remember seeing the whole, 
men and cattle, rush pell-mell into the water, which they 
drank to repletion, and afterwards wallowed in — ^the men, 

• The enemy had sworn to sweep us into the Jumna. 



2dO SCRAPS FBOM MY SABBETASCHE. 

legardless of their clothing, mingling with their four- 
footed brethren in the stream. That indulgence cost the 
lires of manj of the poor beasts, whose swollen carcases 
choked up the rayines thej had so recently descended; 
water which thej so mach needed, and so mnch craTed 
for, thus, instead of saving life, causing death, through 
haring been drank too copiously. 

In the fort at Kalpee* we found an immense quantity 
of munitions of war and other stores, which proved that 
the enemy did not anticipate our capturing the place, or 
they could easily have removed them. 

Parties were sent out in pursuit, under Colonel GkJlf 
and Captain Abbot, respectively ; these killed great num- 

* Why we should have had to march oyer a thousand miles, and 
fight our way through all sorts of odds to capture Kalpee, when an 
oyerwhelming British force was for months only a few miles distant 
from the place, I, nor, I believe, anyone, can conceive ; but such was 
the fact. It may have been part of a deep-laid plan; but I must 
confess it was too deep for my limited comprehension. 

t Colonel Gall deserves something more than a passing notice,, 
and, though I disliked him personally, I cannot refrain from expressing 
my admiration of him as a soldier and a daring officer. He was a 
short, spare, sallow- visaged man; but in his little frame was an 
immense amount of courage and endurance. He, I believe, gloried 
in danger, and would face anything or everything — the devil himself. 
He had so much confidence in himself, and the men, that he used to 
Bay, " Give me the 14th, a regiment of infantry, and a troop of 
artilleiy, and I 'd sweep the whole of India.** The General had a high 
opinion of him, and was constantly sending him on expeditions in 
which tact, daring, and endurance were required, and he was 
invariably successful ; chiefiy owing to the good example he showed 
to his men. When he was seen to leave the camp with a small party, 
it was a common saying, '^ There goes Gall to look for a fight,** and he 
generally found it ; on foot or on horseback, in a charge, or a storm, it 
was all one to him. The infantry who had been out with him spoke- 



KALPEE. 251 

bers of tlie flying enemy, besides capturing all tbeir guns^ 
camels, elephants, horses, &c., with which they returned 
in triumph to camp.* 

enthusiastically of his reckless daring ; he was " too brave," and on 
one or two occasions, when on foot, the men have actually had to hold 
him by force, to keep him from rushing to certain death. He had 
received a sword-cut on the wrist during the Sikh war, in endeavour- 
ing to seize a standard, which rendered his right hand useless ; he 
thought to get over that, however, by inventing a sword which could 
be fitted to his wrist; this, after a trial or two, he found did not 
answer, so he had to give it up, and use his left hand. In leading a 
charge — either against the enemy, or at a field-day — he would turn 
round in his saddle, and say, " Now, men, you are quite at liberty to 
gallop over me — if you can I " He was always so splendidly mounted 
that that was an impossibility. In riding, his light frame seemed to 
grow out of the saddle ; as the old soldier caustically remarked, " he 
sticks to the saddle like a sick monkey on a yard-arm ! " He was 
reported never to undress, but always to sleep booted, belted, and 
dressed, ready for a turn-out on the instant ; and this would appear to 
be true, for at the first blast of the trumpet he would appear riding 
down the lines fully equipped, as if he had been waiting for the 
trumpet to sound. I am not his biographer, or I might write a volume 
concerning him, but I will conclude with observing that, though he 
was not very popular among his own men as a commanding officer, 
every man of us admired him for daring as a soldier. 

* The General presented one of the elephants to the 14th. This 
elephant used to march at the head of the regiment. The men sub- 
scribed for its maiitenance, and that of its keeper, who used to be 
gorgeously dressed, and sit in state on the elephant's back, on such 
occasions. He knew every man, woman, and child of the regiment, 
and would throw up his trunk and salute any of us with a trumpeting 
sound ; but, strange to say, he would never notice the men of the 6th 
Inniskillings, who tried to make his acquaintance. On one occasion 
he killed a horse belonging to the 6th, by crushing him to death 
against the wall of his stable. When we were leaving India it was 
found impossible to take him with us, and he was sold, to our great 
regret, as we had all grown to like Kooglia, and he would have caused 
quite a sensation at home, marching at the head of our regiment. 



i 



252 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCUB. 

Our force having completed the work it had been 
destined to do, it was ordered to be broken up, and the 
troops distributed to different stations, and kept under 
cover during; the remainder of the hot season, to enable 
the men and cattle to rest and recruit their strength 
after so much hardship and suffering. Sir Hugh Bose 
also announced his intention of going to Bombay on 
sick certificate, he being thoroughly knocked up with 
his recent exertions, and took leave of the troops in the 
following General Order, which I insert for the reader's 
perusal : — 

Field-Force Orders by Maj.-Gen. Sir Hugh Eose K.C.B. 

" Camp, Calpee, 1st June 1858. 

"The Central India Field Force being about to be 
dissolved, the Major- General cannot allow the troops- to 
leave the immediate command without expressing to them 
the gratification he has invariably experienced at their 
good conduct and discipline, and he requests that 
the following general order may be read at the head of 
every corps and detachment of the force. 

" Soldiers ! you have marched more than a thousand 
miles, and taken more than a hundred guns. You have 
forced your way through mountain-passes and intricate 
jungles, and over rivers. You have captured forts, and 
beat the enemy, no matter what the odds, whenever you 
met him. You have restored extensive districts to the 
Government, and peace and order now reign where before, 
for twelve months, were tyranny and rebellion. You 
have done all this, and you have never had a check. 



KALPEE. 253 

" I thank you witli all my sincerity for your bravery, 
your devotion, and your discipline. 

"When you first marched, I told you, that you, as 
British soldiers, had more than enough of courage for 
the work which was before you, but that courage, with- 
out discipline, was of no avail ; and I exhorted you to let 
discipline be your watchword. You have attended to my 
orders. In hardships, in temptations, and in dangers, you 
have obeyed your General, and you never left your ranks. 

" You have fought against the strong, and you have 
protected the rights of the. weak and defenceless, of foes 
as well as of friends. I have seen you, in the ardour of 
combat, preserve and place children out of harm's way. 

" This is the discipline of Christian soldiers, and this 
it is which has brought you triumphant from the shores 
of Western India to the waters of the Jumna, and esta- 
blishes, without doubt, that you will find no place before 
which the glory of your arms can be dimmed." 

I will venture to say there was not a man of the force 
whose bosom did not swell with pride and exultation 
when he heard this order read. Those few words 
effectually effaced all remembrance of suffering and hard- 
ship, leaving only the pleasure of being thought by our 
General worthy of his praise. 

I commenced this chapter raving, and I verily believe 
I shall have to finish it raving, but in a very different 
manner. What a wonderful effect a few appropriate words 
have ; here I am, ready to go through another lot. 



4 



254 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRBTASOHB. 



CHAPTER XXXni. 

GWALIOR. — ROASTING ALIVB. 

We were destined to be disappointed in our expectations, 
there was to be no rest for us yet ; the idea of resting 
during the remainder of the hot months was still in 
perspective, and so distant we could hardly see any 
prospect of it at all. 

News came that the Eanee of Jhansi and Tantia Topee 
had managed somehow or other to scrape a large army 
together, with which they had proceeded to Gwalior, 
and had fought a battle,* in which the Maharaja's troops 
had been worsted, though led on by himself with great 
gallantry ; that the whole of his troops, with the exception 
of his body-guard, had gone over to the rebels, who 
had succeeded in taking the fort, city, and the Lushkar, 
with all the guns there were in the former, and the 
immense treasure there was at the latter place. His fort, 
city, palace, throne, and treasure gone, and his troops 

* This battle was fought on the 1st of June. 



GWALIOR. 255 

gone over to tlie rebels, the Maharaja, with a few of his 
faithful body-guard, had fled to Agra, while the rebels 
busily occupied themselves in trying to organize a 
government for their newly acquired possessions. 

The General no sooner received this startling intelli- 
gence than he determined to forego his sick-leave, and 
once more take the field, at any risk. It would not do to 
leave such a strong place as Gwalior in the hands of the 
rebels, as it would nullify all our hard-earned victories 
by becoming a rendezvous for the disaffected from all 
parts of India, and probably cause a great deal of time 
and trouble to capture. There was also the fact that 
a loyal prince was driven from his throne and country 
by the rebels, after gallantly fighting against them ; so 
it was evidently the duty of our Qx^vemment to let the 
Pandies see that they should not have it all their own 
way, and that if we were quick to avenge ourselves on 
our foes, we were as equally quick to render assistance 
to our friends and strike a rapid blow in their behalf. 

Off we went again, on the 6th June, and after some very 
severe marching, under a rather warm sun,* on the 16th 
we reached Morar cantonments, where a large body of the 
rebels were posted, waiting for us. They had not long 
to wait ; for Sir Hugh Eose, with his usual dash, went in 
at them, tired as we were, at once. After a few rounds 
our troops advanced, driving the enemy before them out 
of the cantonments and killing numbers of them, the 



* One day the thermometer was reported to be 180° in the shade ; 
the Lord only knows what it was in the sun / know it was warm. 



256 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

71 fit in particular going in at them with the " cold steel" 
in a nullah where a lot of them had ensconced them- 
selves, as if they did not intend being driven out ; neither 
were they, for after some fierce hand-to-hand fighting, 
in which the 71st lost an officer and several men, they 
left the nullah, but not till every rebel in it was killed. 

It was frightfully hot, and the sun struck down on us 
with awful power, buttoned up as we were in thick 
woollen tunics. The officers were requested to speak to 
the colonel to allow us to take them off and strap them in 
front of the saddles ; but the permission was not granted, 
as it was not " regimental or soldierly " ; so that there 
we were in front of the enemy, stifling, sweltering, gasping, 
and not half so effective as we should be were we allowed 
to peel off — because it was not "regimental." I don't 
know how it was, but some man, I suppose, watching his 
opportunity by seeing some movement amongst the rebels, 
and anticipating a corresponding one on ours, suddenly 
pulled off his tunic, and in a twinkling every man of the 
regiment peeled off. Just at this moment we were 
ordered to change position, and throw out skirmishers, 
so it was impossible to order them to be put on again, 
and for some time we were so fully occupied potting the 
enemy that it could not be done. The colonel, like a 
sensible man, seeing the unanimous feeling of the regi- 
ment, took no notice of the men all being strip- shirted, 
and afterwards issued an order that for the future we 
might turn out in that manner. This was really a great 
boon, better late than never ; and if it had been done 
months before, it would probably have lessened the 



GWALIOB. 257 

death-roll of tlie regimeat. It had more advantages than 
one, too ; for not only did we feel cooler, and could use 
our arms better, but, I believe, the enemy thought we 
had an addition to our force, in a regiment of dragoons 
wearing white jackets, when it was simply one of the 
old ones strip- shirted. 

I cannot here avoid giving a word of praise to two 
classes of hard- worked followers, without whose assist- 
ance we should have been awkwardly placed, and who 
faithfully served us during the whole of the arduous 
campaign. These were the bheestie- wallahs and the 
dhoolie-bearers. The former, whether on the line of 
march, or in front of the enemy, were sure to be in 
attendance, and contributed greatly to our comfort, by 
moistening our parched lips with a timely drink of water, 
or pouring the cooling liquid over our burning heads 
and down our bosoms ; the hot winds blowing through 
our wet clothes, giving such a sense of coolness and 
exquisite pleasure — even if only temporary — impossible 
to describe. If water was to be had, there the bheesties 
were with it, no matter what the risk. The dhoolie- 
bearers, too, were always close up to the column, ready 
to bear ofE a wounded or sun-struck man, and often 
running the risk of being shot in doing so. These two 
classes of men must have had pretty hard times of it, as 
the hotter the weather, or the more sick and wounded 
there were, the harder became their work — in fact, their 
work was never done ; and they ran almost as much 
danger of being killed as we did, as they were often under 
fire, and never shrank from their work. I think these 

17 



258 SCRAPS FROM MY SABRETASCHE. 

poor fellows got medals ; if tbej did not, thej ought to 
have got them, for they richly deserved them. 

But to return to Morar. Before the day was orer we 
were in possession of the whole of the cantonments, while 
the enemy still remained masters of the town and fort, 
and occupied the heights to the east of it in strong 
numbers. 

Sir Hagh Bose, understanding that great preparations 
had been made, by throwing up batteries, to check our 
advance on to Phoolbagh,* a place about half-way distant 
between Morar and the Lushkar,t made a long detour 
the next night, and joined Smith's brigade at Kota-ke- 
serai, outflanking the enemy, and coming into Phoolbagh 
behind them, without much loss ; and finally, after some 
severe fighting, town, fort, Phoolbagh, and the Lushkar 
were in our hands, together with upwards of fifty guns 
of various calibres. 

The Eanee of Jhansi was killed in the attack on 
Phoolbagh, either by a fragment of a shell or a bullet, 
while directing the movements of her troops. She wore 
the dress of a mounted officer, as was her custom, at the 



* (( Flower garden.** A garden and palace near the foot of the east 
end of the fort. The palace -was afterwards used as a barracks by 
the 71 St. 

t Literally, " encampment " ; but in reality a large well-built town, 
containing the Maharajah's palace, and many good streets and build- 
ings ; the city of Uwalior was on the other side of the fort, inmiediately 
at the foot of it. So that Gwalior proper, or the scene of our opera- 
tions, were the Morar cantonments or lines, occupied by the Gwalior 
troops; the Phoolbagh, the city, the fort, the heights, and the 
Lushkar. There was no fighting in the latter place. 



BOASTING ALIVE. 259 

time she was killed. Her followers burnt lier corpse, to 
prevent it falling into the hands of the British, whom 
she so mortallj hated. 

The mutineers had no braver leader than she was, nor 
the British a more inveterate enemy and obstinate oppo- 
nent. Her death, but for the atrocities she committed, 
would have been pronounced " glorious," and she would 
have been honoured as a brave foe, a true heroine, and a 
real patriot; as it was, her death rid the world of 
a beautiful but blood-thirsty monster. 

When we rode into Phoolbagh, the first sight that met 
our gaze was enough to make the blood run cold with 
horror, or boil with rage ; for there, hanging by the legs* 
from the branches of a tree, were the bodies of two 
Europeans, naked, except the socks, and swollen to an 
enormous size ; they had actually been roasting over a 
slow fire ! for beneath each of them the fire was scarcely 
cold. These men were recognised (by the socks they 
wore) as belonging to the 8th Hussars ; their horses had,: 
I believe, fallen in a charge on the previous day, and they: 
had been left on the ground, unnoticed, perhaps. As 
far as I could see, there was no wound on either of 
them, and they must have been hung up in that manner 
to make their death as lingering and as maddening as 
possible — their heads being about a foot above the fire. 
What the poor fellows must have suffered, God only- 
knows. They were at once cut down and buried.* 



* I heard that there were five bodies fonnd hanging in a similar 
manner. I only saw two ; the others mnst have been at some other 
place. • 

17 « 



260 SCRAPS PROM MY SABBETASCHB. 

Brigadier Napier was despatclied with a flying column 
of cavalrj* and horse artillery, numbering about 600 men ; 
with this handful he performed one of the most dashing 
feats on record. He came up with about 8,000 of the 
enemy, under Tantia Toopee and the Nawab of Banda, 
charged into them, cutting up great numbers, and cap- 
turing all their guns (twenty-flve) and an immense 
quantity of ammunition. It must have been glorious to 
have seen that charge — men, horses, and guns thundering 
on into the mnks of the enemy, sweeping everything 
before them ! Other flying columns scoured the country 
in all directions, cutting up the enemy wherever they 
came across them. 

On the 20th, the Maharajah, who had been desired to 
return in haste to Owalior, was escorted by all the troops 
in camp to his capital. Scindia was attended by Sir 
Eobert Hamilton and Sir Hugh Eose and his staff, and 
the brilliant cortege riding up the broad street leading to 
the palace must have appeared very imposing to the 
inhabitants, and taught them to respect the power that 
had brought their monarch back to his capital. Sir 
Hugh having restored Scindia in triumph to his throne 
and kingdom,t and having seen everything satisfactorily 
arranged for the disposition of the troops, fairly ex- 
hausted and worn out, again resigned command of the 
force, and stai'ted for Bombay on the 29th, the guns 
from Gwalior fort booming out the announcement of his 
departure and a long farewell. 

* 14th IJragoons and native caTalry. 

t Gwalior was in possession of the rebels eighteen days only. 



6WALI0B. 261 

I might insert dozens of extracts, from yarioos sooroeSy 
all eulogistic of Sir Hugh Rose and his achieyements. I 
select one onlj, chieflj on account of its brevity ; it will 
serve as a fair specimen of many others. 

** He always showed a disposition and determination to 
fight, whatever odds were against him; in his fights he 
always punished severely. He marched without cessation 
from the Nerbndda to the Jumna, following on the heels 
of the murderer with the certainty and rapidity of the 
blood-hound; he caught them in their lairs, broke down 
their fastnesses, and stripped them of their weapons. 
When confronted by their thousands, he met them with 
his hundreds, never yielding an inch, and, as at Marathon 
of old, laid their cohorts in the dust. By day and by 
night, through the perils and dangers of disease, fatigue, 
the battle-field, and the burning sun, he led his over- 
tasked squadrons from victory to victory, never sheathing 
the awful avenging sword until he had strewn the plains 
of India with corpses, and scattered the enemy like the 
four winds. 

" In the valleys, on the mountains, in the city, on the 
plains, the whitened bones of mutineers and rebels lie, to 
tell their tales to all who pass by, and remind them of 
the avenging march of Sir Hugh Eose's army through 
Central India."* 

* See " Generals Rose and Stuart's Indian Campaigns.'* To those 
who would wish for a fuller description of his achieyements during 
that trying campaign, I would recommend the perusal of the above- 
named book ; also " The History of the Indian Mutiny.** 



262 a<:itAPS noM xi sabseta^chi. 



CHAPTEB XXXIV, 



GWALIOB FORT. 



Kt troop (tbe K), a battery of artillerj, and a part of 
tb#; 71«t were left in charge of tbe Fboolbagb for some 
time; otinielTe« and tbe artillery remaining in tents, 
pitcbed on tbe plain, and tbe 71 st occupying tbe palace. 

Wbile we were tbere a large body of the Gwali(»r 
irregular caTalry, numbering about 2,000 men, were dis- 
mounted — tbat is, their horses were taken away from 
them. This was effected by the Maharajah himself in a 
Tery masterly manner. 

We were all in readiness when His Highness rode in at 
the head of the cavalry. When he had reached what he 
thought a suitable place for the purpose, he gave the 
word for them to retire by files from the right of troops, 
then turn inwards, dismount, and picket their horses. 
This being done, he made them fall in by troops at the 
head of their respective lines, and marched them off at 
once, minus their horses, to their rage and mortification 
at being thus easily outwitted, for without their horses 



GWAUOB FOKT. 263 

they were comparatively useless. They had no help for it 
and had to go ; for the least resistance would have brought 
us down on them, as we were in waiting for any fracas 
that might take place. 

At midnight there was a regular stampede amongst the 
horses, a few of them having been cut loose either by 
the men left in charge of them, or by their owners stealing 
into the lines and doing so in hopes the loose horses 
would return to their old lines, and they would thus 
recover them ; or, perhaps, they thought the loose horses 
would cause ours to break loose as well as their own, and 
cause great confusion. At any rate, horses were galloping 
about in all directions ; and as the night was intensely 
dark, it was extremely dangerous. Orders came that we 
were to hamstring all the loose horses we could ; and it 
was exciting to stand by while a horse dashed past and 
slash at his hind-legs with our swords, in hopes of 
cutting the sinews, which would effectually put a stop 
to his galloping. Several were served this way, and 
when they were brought up by hamstringing they were 
put out of their misery as soon as possible.* 

Meanwhile the sick and wounded of the different 
detachments were sent up into Gwalior fort, for the 
benefit of the cooler atmosphere which was to be obtained 



• The cavalry, in India, use entire horses only ; and if one breaks 
loose, it sometimes causes an inmiense deal of trouble — ^the others 
fighting, plunging, and endeavouring to break loose as well. One 
loose horse at a field-day will often throw a whole troop into con- 
lusion ; the horses getting into a fearful state of excitement, rearing, 
plunging, fighting, and using every effort to throw their riders. 



264j scraps from Mr sabeetascae. 

on its loftj heights. My troop was shortly afterwards 
ordered to remove into Morar, where we, with several 
other troops, were sheltered under some sheds which 
had been hastily run up for our accommodation. 

While staying here, I was sent one day up to Gwalior 
fort to bring in the dead body of our hospital sergeant. 
As he died under peculiar circumstances, I will briefly 
relate them : — 

A sick sergeant of the artillery was in the hospital 
at the fort, and it seems he was a great friend of 
Sergeant Culpin, the hospital sergeant. This man always 
carried a revolver about with him, chiefly from habit. 
One day the hospital sergeant jokingly reminded him of 
the uselessness of carrying such a weapon in hospital. 
The other remarked he might find use for it there as 
well as anywhere else, and, in a lark, he drew it, exclaim- 
ing, " By God, I '11 shoot you ! ** Somehow the weapon 
went off, and, to the man's horror, shot the unfortunate 
sergeant, who died within twenty-four hours, leaving a 
young widow and child to deplore his loss. The 
artillery sergeant was tried and acquitted with a severe 
reprimand, as the deed was proved to be done by acci- 
dent, though the words he had made use of certainly 
made it look very black against him. 

I brought the corpse to Morar, where it was buried. 
To my great surprise the next day my name was read 
out in orders as the successor of the sergeant, and the 
following one saw me installed in Gwalior fort as acting 
hospital sergeant. I lived in the fort for some months, 
and felt the full benefit of the change from the sweltering 



GWALIOB FORT. 265 

heat of the plains to the cool and bracing atmosphere 
of the forty which, being about 400 feet in height, made 
the air*alwajs deliciouslj cool and pleasant. 

My room looked down on to the city of Gwalior, and 
it made one feel giddy to look down the perpendicular 
side of the rock and see the people below. By the aid 
of a telescope I had a capital opportunity of inspecting 
the internal economy of many of the establishments near 
the fort; and I thus witnessed many little domestic 
episodes, which the performers of never thought were 
being overlooked by the Feringee, or they would have 
shunned their court-yards and house-tops. During my 
leisure hours I explored all over the place, weaving 
many a romance in my own mind from a stray couplet 
or verse of poetry written on the walls of some room in 
what had probably been the harem — wondering what 
fair being had written them, and what had been the 
fate of the writer, and a thousand other extravagances 
which the lines conjured up, and which only a dreamer 
could indulge in ; and the more I saw of it, the more 
I was struck with wonder at its vast strength, and 
the strange freak of nature in erecting this one solid 
rock in the midst of the plain. I believe no power 
on earth could ever take it if properly manned and 
provisioned. 

The views from all sides of the fort were magnificent, 
the country stretching out like a map on all sides, till 
sky and earth blended together in the distance. 

On the side of the fort nearest the Lushkar, was a sort 
of gully or hollow where were some immense idols carved 



266 SCRAPS FBOH HT SABRETASCUK/ 

out of the solid rock. Some idea maj be formed of ihe 
monBtrous size of these idols when I state that I have 
climbed up the steps cut out of the rock at the sides, 
and have reclined on the under lip of one of them. 

In the centre of the fort was a large tank cut out 
from the solid rock, in which was a constant supply of 
clear cold water; the wonder was how water could 
naturally find its waj to such a height. 

As the cold season came on, the hospital establishment 
was shifted from the fort down to Morar again, and was 
put up in a large building which, I think, had been the 
hospital for the Gwalior Contingent. 

A camel race came o£E while we were at Morar, and 
thej entered into the spirit of the thing with all the 
fire of racers, going along at a tremendous swinging 
pace. There was also an elephant race, and it was 
something out of the common to see half-a-dozen ele- 
phants come thundering along with erect trunks, and 
shaking the very ground with their ponderous weight. 

Among the troops there was a good deal of drill going 
on — licking a Sikh levy into shape — training the camel 
corps. This was a new feature in warfare, and likely to 
be of great service, as after a march or pursuit the 
infantry can dismount from the camels comparatively 
fresh. Each camel has a double saddle fitted to its back ; 
on the front saddle sits the native driver, on the rear one 
sits the infantryman (it should be camelry man). It used 
to be laughable to see them being drilled. The camels 
go through their movements with almost as much pre- 
cision as cavalry, but, till the men got used to it, it was 



GWALIOR FORT. 267 

laughable to see how tenaciously they clung to the native 
driver — for camels are not the easiest animals in the 
world to ride at a long trot. 

Here I used often to receive visits from the chaplain, 
who had recently arrived from England, and was anxious 
to gather all the information he could concerning India. 
I used to have long chats with him, which he evidently 
enjoyed; and, I need not say, I enlightened him very 
considerably, to his surprise and horror in many cases. 

This gentleman one day, shortly after his arrival, came 
to me, and said he understood there were several religious 
men in the regiment, and he wished to know how and 
where he might be able to see them. I told him if he 
walked down the horse lines any evening at stable-time 
he would have an excellent opportunity of doing so, as 
they would be sure to be there. 

" But," inquired the chaplain, looking somewhat mysti- 
fied, " how can I tell them from the others if I see them?" 

" Nothing more simple," I replied ; " when you see an 
awkward, round-shouldered man, or one with weak knees, 
you may be certain he is one of the parties you are seeking 
for." 

Do you mean to tell me, then," cried the chaplain, 

that religious men are not as smart as other men ? " 

** Of course they are not," I replied ; " look what a 
shambling spider-legged fellow you had for a clerk last 
Sunday — he 's a specimen." 

" Certainly," agreed the chaplain, " he '« not a very 
ismart man ; but they can't all be awkward, or, if they 
are, how do you account for it? " 






268 SCRAPS FROM MT SABBETASOHE. 

'' I can give no other reason/' I replied, looking as 
serious as I possibly could — for I had great difficulty to 
keep mj countenance — '' than that the round shoulders 
are caused by the weight of sin they bear, and which they 
jerk up in the way a porter would to ease it, till, like 
Christian, they may cast it from them ; and that constant 
kneeling makes them give way at the knees." 

Another time, the chaplain, who was really a good,, 
kind-hearted man, came to me, as usual, for a chat, and 
anxious to get some information, he commenced the 
conyersation with — 

" Oh, Sergeant, I have just come from the 71st hospital,, 
and I find that they have no less than thirty- four patients 
suffering from diseases caused by immorality, while in 
your hospital there are but three ; how do you account 
for that ? *' 

" That is easily accounted for," I replied ; " for we keep 
a stud, and they do not." 

" Keep a stud ! " exclaimed he, somewhat mystified ; " I 
don't properly understand you." 

I then explained to him that so many women were 
allowed to follow the regiment, and were under its pro- 
tection, who had a regular tariff, were inspected weekly, 
and, if necessary, put under medical treatment till well. 

" Good heavens ! " exclaimed the horror-struck chaplain ;. 
" and do you mean to tell me such things are allowed ? " 

I assured him they w^re not only allowed, but were 
considered a great benefit to the men, and a great saving to 
Government, preventing much sickness, which, but for these 
regulations, would undoubtedly prevail amongst them. 



GWALIOB FORT. 269 

** But look at the gross immoralitj ! " cried tbe shocked 
chaplain, and " 

" Look at the benefit ! " I interrupted. " You yourself 
have just proved the advantage of such a system. The 71st 
having joined on the road, no women are attached to the 
regiment, they have thirty -four men sick ; we have women 
attached to the 14th, and we have only three men sick." 

This argument was unanswerable ; though the chaplain 
expatiated very strongly on the immorality of the thing, 
and declared he would do his best, by representing the 
matter in the proper quarters, to get it put a stop to. I 
declared that if he did he would be doing an injury to the 
men which all the good intentions in the world would not 
justify. That this was an exceptional case of sinning in 
which "out of evil cometh good.** I have never heard 
whether he succeeded or not, but I think not ; in fact, I 
don*t think he ever put in his protest, becoming more 
reconciled to the system the more he perceived the good 
derived from it. 

Soon after, we were ordered to go by bullock train* to 
Bombay, there to embark for England. Off we started 
by detachments, one troop a day ; I bringing up the rear 
with the hospital establishment, — not in charge now, how- 

* These are carts made to hold two men each, so that they can lie 
down in them ; each cart is drawn by two bullocks. Every few miles 
distance there is a " bullock station," where the bullocks are changed. 
This operation does not take a minute to effect, and excepting a halt 
of two hours or so at mid-day, for the purpose of getting a meal 
cooked, the train goes on unceasingly day and night. After travelling 
about a thousand miles in this manner one's nerves get pretty well 
shaken up. 



270 SCRAPS FROM MY S ARRET ASCHE. 

ever — for, whatever my ability, my services as a non- 
commissioned officer were not sufficiently long to entitle 
me to the exalted rank of full hospital sergeant, so that 
when the regiment got together I was superseded, but 
was left with my successor for a month or two to instruct 
him in his duties. 

In due time we reached Bombay, with every nerve in 
our bodies vibrating with a month's incessant jolting in 
the bullock-train. Here we found the order to proceed ta 
England was countermanded ; we were to return to our 
old station, Kirkee, where we had the satisfaction of 
amusing ourselves by breaking in a regiment of young 
horses, our own having been left up the country. 



27J 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

CONCLUSION. 

'*I THOUGHT you Said your horse was as quiet as a 
lamb ; why, he 's a perfect brute ! I wouldn't have him 
for any money ! " exclaimed the captain, in high 
dudgeon. 

I did not expect he would. This was just what I 
had anticipated, and what I had carefully paved the way 
for. After breaking in a horse, and getting him nicely 
to your hand, it is not pleasant to have him taken away 
from you, even by your own captain, who has the right 
of selecting any horse he chooses — and who is generally 
careful to do so after it is broken in. 

A magnificent iron-grey had fallen to my share from 
the remounts ; it was admired by everyone, and I was 
quite proud of my acquisition, and no mother took more 
pains to teach her little one to run alone than I did to 
try and train my horse well. From the first moment, 
however, of my obtaining possession of the horse, I had 
noticed the longing eye the captain had thrown on it; 
and I knew that he only waited till the horse was nicely 
broken in, when he would compliment me by selecting 



272 SCRAPS FROM MY SABBETASOHE. 

him as his charger — after all the trouble I had taken with 
him, too. 

In anticipation of this, and to cause the captain to 
wish to get rid of the horse quicker than he took him, I 
had trained him to kick out lustily if one touched him 
with the spur when mounting, or on first starting off in 
a canter. This little arrangement I had, of course, kept 
entirely to myself. 

Sure enough, when the horse was broken in, my fore- 
bodings were realised ; the captain ordered him to be 
taken to his bungalow, to make a trial of him. He dii 
make a trial of him ; got on the horse's back, and was 
pressing him o£E into a gentle canter, when the '^ lamb " 
gave a bound, throwing up his hind-legs at the same 
time, and sent the captain flying over his head. 

This was devilish strange! so quiet as he always 
appeared, too. The captain essayed to mount him again ; 
but the horse seemed to object to having him on his 
back, and unhorsed him again in a twinkling; so that, 
in sheer disgust, the captain was glad to hand him over 
to me agaiu, with the reputation of his being a '' perfect 
brute.'* I thus retained peaceable possession of my 
charger; but for fear the plot should be suspected, I 
caused him to let out a kick now and then for the 
captain's special behoof, who really thought him the 
" perfect brute " he had described him. 

Amusements of all kinds again became the order of the 
day — or rather night, for our days were devoted to regi- 
mental duties — and I spent some very pleasant hours in 
Kirkee. The 6th Inniskillings were quartered in the 



CONCLUSION. 273 

same barracks with us, and' the two regiments were on 
the best of terms, fraternising on all occasions. The two 
sergeants' messes were contiguous, and we had many 
uproarious evenings, the sergeants of both regiments 
assembling at either mess. In these meetings I always 
took care to keep myself comjpos mentis , so as to catch 
every bit of the fun going on. 

When a private I was never once in the guard-room, 
but I had no sooner been made a N. C. O. than I was 
perpetually getting into some scrape or other, out of 
which I as constantly succeeded in getting. Most of my 
scrapes originated from neglect of some trifling detail of 
duty, or carelessness. When reprimanded by the sergeant- 
major for some neglect of duty, it was a common habit 
of mine to pooh-pooh the affair as trifling and imma- 
terial. Indeed, at this time I was generally known by 
the nickname of "Immaterial." The name originated 
chiefly in this manner, as well as by making constant use 
of the word : — 

One day the sergeant-major of my troop asked me 
the number of my horse. I told him I hadn't the 
remotest idea, but I could easily ascertain. Hereupon, I 
called the ghora-wallah, from whom I quickly obtained 
the requisite information. The sergeant-major remarked, 
" You are a queer sort of non-commissioned ofl&cer not 
to know the number of your own horse." 

" Sergeant-major," I gravely replied, " It 's immaterial 
what number the horse is. I make it a point to ride 
him as well as I can ; not to stare down at his feet to 
look at his number," 

18 



274 SCBAPS F£OM MY SABBETASCfiE. 

I cannot here resist relating a joke played bj some of 
our young subs, on a brother ofScer, who was not much 
of a favourite either with oflficers or men, and whom the 
former looked upon as being snobbish in his ways, and 
determined to represent as a bond fide and literal snob. 

On a Sunday morning we were marching to church, 
and as we drew near the bungalow of the snobbish 
officer in question, those in the rear heard a suppressed 
titter run through the ranks at the head of the regiment ; 
this titter occasionally fully developed into loud laughter, 
pursuing its course through the different troops as they 
successively passed the bungalow. The cause of this 
laughter was a sign-board, on which was usually seen 

the words Lieut. 14th Light Dragoons, informing 

the passer-by that the individual named on the board 
resided there, but which on the present occasion had had 
a few slight additions made, and read as follows : — 

Lieutenant , 

(14th Light Dragoons), 

Bout and Shoe Maker. 

Repairs Neatly Executed. 

Country Orders promptly attended to. 

This had been done by the young officers during the 

night, and Lieut. had not observed it when leaving 

his bungalow to go to parade — his back being to it. 
He must have been rather annoyed at finding himself 
made a bult of before the whole of the regiment. 

Another adventure occurred here at this time of a 
more serious nature, and led to unpleasant results. The 
sergeant-major of the officers' mess had recently married 



CONCLUSION. 275 

a very handsome woman, and had left the service, openmg 
a store in Poena. 

A young harum-scarum officer of the regiment must 
needs fall in love with this woman, and succeeded in 
inspiring her with the same sentiment, and it ended in 
her proving unfaithful to her husband ; the two carrying 
on an illicit intercourse unsuspected- for some time — the 
young officer visiting the frail one in the disguise of a 
lady, which his youthful appearance enabled him to do 
admirably. 

The husband at last got scent of these stolen meetings, 
and one day caught the guilty pair together; but the 
officer dashed through an open window, mounted a horse, 
and galloped off to his bungalow at Kirkee, followed 
shortly after by the injured husband bent on having 
satisfaction for the injury. 

On arriving at the bungalow, the husband walked 
straight into the room where the gay Lothario was, and 
pulling out a pistol and pointing it at him, exclaimed, 

" B , I 've come to shoot you 1" Suiting the action 

to the word, he fired, and shot the officer through the 
body. The husband was tried, and got twelve months' 
imprisonment. The young officer was so dangerously 
wounded that his life was despaired of for some time ; 
and we had to leave him in India when we left, it not 
being safe to move him. He, however, eventually re- 
covered, and rejoined us in Ireland, apparently not much 
the worse for the wound. 

At length, after having been in India nineteen years, 
the regiment again proceeded to Bombay ; and this time 



ft • W. H. AixEN k Co., 



Works issned from flie India Office, and Sold by 

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niustrations of Ancient Bmldings in Eashmir. 

Prepared at the Indian Museum under the authority of the 
Secretary of State for India in^ Council. Frpm Phgtggrapjv* 
^^Ds,. audi Dr^iringt. tsSmm hy. Qnier' of^he/ Olbv^nMn6nt^.af 
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